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Syracuse downs Marquette, still undefeated

Jan 8, 2012 - 2:01 AM Syracuse, NY (Sports Network) - Kris Joseph had 17 points and three steals, as the top-ranked Syracuse Orange stayed perfect with a 73-66 victory over the 20th-ranked Marquette Golden Eagles.

Brandon Triche added 16 points, seven rebounds and two steals for the Orange (17-0, 4-0 Big East), who started 18-0 last season before dropping their first game.

C.J. Fair donated 13 points and eight boards for Syracuse, which got 12 points and seven assists from Dion Waiters.

"The object is to win the game. It's not whether you win the first half or the second half, you have to win the game," Syracuse head coach Jim Boeheim said. "We did the things tonight that we had to do to win the game."

Darius Johnson-Odom ended with 19 points for the Golden Eagles (12-4, 1-2), who fell to 1-8 all-time versus the top-ranked squad in the country. Jae Crowder and Junior Cadougan had 15 and 10 points, respectively.

The Orange seemed poised to run away with the game after grabbing a 37-19 lead at the half.

But the Golden Eagles prevented that from happening, starting the second half on a 19-8 run. Crowder and Cadougan tallied six and five points, respectively, during the surge to cut the gap to 45-38 with 13:11 to play.

A 10-2 run by Marquette moments later had the visitors within three, 51-48, with 9:17 to go.

Syracuse was able to build a seven-point margin, 59-52, but the Golden Eagles quickly made things tight. Vander Blue's layup and a Johnson-Odom three- pointer made it 59-57 with 5:15 remaining.

After Baye Moussa Keita made two free throws for the Orange, Waiters came up with a big block. Johnson-Odom's shot from beyond the arc was blocked by Waiters, who raced the other way for a layup and 63-57 edge.

Cadougan and Crowder each missed three-pointers before Joseph was good from beyond the arc at the other end.

Johnson-Odom and Crowder made three-pointers around Fab Melo's slam to get the Golden Eagles within five, 68-63, with 1:31 left.

Things almost got very interesting following a Waiters turnover, but Cadougan failed to control the ball at midcourt.

Scoop Jardine made 1-of-2 free throws and Fair pulled down a key offensive rebound on the miss. Fair also made 1-of-2 shots to give the home team a 70-63 margin with 39.9 seconds to play.

"We knew they were going to make a run," Waiters said. "Marquette is a good team, they went all the way out to the last second, so we came out lackadaisical, and not really playing defense, and it hurt us. We turned it into a ball game. We talked to each other, and we had to keep our composure. Things like that can help us become a better team, facing adversity. We came out, ran the offense, and made plays."

Syracuse was able to build a big lead early on due to a 23-1 run in the first half. James Southerland's jumper made it a 35-12 game with 2:42 left in the first half.

Marquette scored seven of the frame's final nine points to cut the gap to 37-19.

Game Notes

Syracuse owns an 8-4 advantage in the all-time series with Marquette, but the Golden Eagles won a pair of meetings last season, including a 66-62 decision in the Sweet 16 round of the 2011 NCAA Tournament...Melo had six points and eight rebounds...Blue and Davante Gardner each had nine points for Marquette.