Marquette Takes Down Syracuse in a Big East Battle

By Lucas M.

The No. 12-ranked Syracuse Orange continued to struggle away from home on Monday night, as they fell 74-71 to the No. 22-ranked Marquette Golden Eagles. After the win, Marquette is now 11-4 in Big East play, good for the second best record in the conference behind the 11-3 No. 8-ranked Georgetown Hoyas.

Marquette was lead by Davonte Gardner, who scored a career-high 26 points to down the Orange at home. However, the Golden Eagles did most of their work on the glass. Per ESPN’s Stats and Information, “Marquette grabbed 55.6 percent of its missed shots Monday, its highest offensive rebounding percentage in a Big East game in the last five seasons. Marquette’s 15 second-chance points are the second most Syracuse has allowed in a conference game this season.” Syracuse’s own players told a similar story.

“They did a good job banging on the offensive glass,” Syracuse’s C.J. Fair said. “We played solid defense but we just let them catch some momentum in the second half and we really didn’t convert on offense in the last few minutes like we needed to.”

Here were a few of the betting trends for both teams heading into Monday’s big match:

Syracuse Orange Trends:
When playing on Monday are 6-4
Before playing Louisville are 7-3
After playing Georgetown are 7-3
After a loss are 8-2

Marquette Golden Eagles Trends:
When playing on Monday are 6-4
Before playing Notre Dame are 8-2
After playing Villanova are 7-3
After a loss are 10-0

A few Orange at Golden Eagles trends to consider:
Syracuse is 17-4 SU in its last 21 games on the road
The total has gone OVER in 4 of Syracuse’s last 6 games on the road
Syracuse is 2-4 ATS in its last 6 games on the road
Marquette is 5-0 SU in its last 5 games at home
Marquette is 12-4 SU in its last 16 games
The total has gone UNDER in 6 of Marquette’s last 8 games
Marquette is 2-5 SU in its last 7 games when playing Syracuse

What was truly the surprise of the game, however, was Marquette’s use of the zone defense against Syracuse, a program famous for implementing that exact scheme. Not only that, but the Golden Eagles scored with ease against Syracuse’s vaunted zone, putting up 61 points against the Orange’s zone defense, the most points they’ve allowed when in that defensive formation all season. Devonte Gardner was exploiting holes in the defense all night with his quickness and athleticism,  and the ease with which he demolished the scheme could spell trouble for Syracuse in the Big Dance if they face another athletic, slashing-type guard.

“I know I didn’t play well against Villanova,” Gardner said. “I didn’t have a good game, so I decided I’d play my best against Syracuse and try to get my team a win.”

There was another telling statistic that illustrated just how gassed Syracuse was by the end of the game, and how desperate they were to stop the Golden Eagles from scoring: Marquette attempted 20 of its 35 free-throw attempts in the last nine minutes of the game, while Syracuse did not take a single one in the same time span. That’s a classic sign of a team that can’t keep up with its opponent.

All in all, Marquette fans can take great pride in their program’s huge victory, and possibly even look ahead to a Big East title. They may only be ranked in the twenties, but the Golden Eagles are playing like a top ten team right now.