Head Coach Jim Boeheim said the Orange played some of the best defense he's seen all season in the first half of Saturday's game against Marquette, but it almost wasn't enough. Syracuse took a 23 point lead at one point, shutting out the Golden Eagles for nearly 10 minutes in the 1st half. But that lead would dwindle down to 2 points thanks to a 15-5 Marquette run to begin the 2nd half. It took some SU resilience, and clutch plays from Dion Waiters and Kris Joseph to make sure the # 1 Orange remained undefeated with an eventual 73-66 win.
"With our defense we just relaxed for a few minutes and Marquette is going to come back at us and they did," said Boeheim after the game, "they started driving at us and they did a great job. When the game got down to the line, we made a couple of big plays and I think that's a great thing. When you lose a lead, especially at home, it's easy to start worrying about what's happening and instead, I thought that Dion Waiters made a huge block and finished it at the other end on Darius Johnson-Odom. But then we made some great defensive plays at the end and made a couple more good offensive plays to win the game."
Dion Waiters had a key block on a three point attempt for Johnson-Odom , and dunked down the deuce at the other end in what may have been a 5-point swing that extended the Orange lead back to six. SU then nailed it down thanks to a Kris Joseph three pointer key free throws down the stretch, including two from Baye Moussa-Keyta.
" Baye did a nice job ," said Boeheim, " Baye practiced yesterday and he did a really nice job in the first half, a couple of good blocks and I thought he did a good job for us."
Kris Joseph led the way with 17 points while Brandon Triche was close behind with16. C.J. Fair contributed 13 points, while Waiters finished with 12 points.
The following is more from the Assosicated Press.
SYRACUSE, N.Y. (AP) - Kris Joseph scored 17 points, Brandon Triche added 16, and top-ranked Syracuse remained unbeaten with a gritty 73-66 victory over No. 20 Marquette on Saturday.
Syracuse (17-0, 4-0 Big East) is two wins away from matching the school's best start, established a decade ago.
Marquette (12-4, 1-2) entered the game 1-7 against the top-ranked teams. The Golden Eagles' lone triumph was 83-69 over Kentucky in the 2003 NCAA tournament, which earned them a trip to the Final Four in New Orleans, where Carmelo Anthony led Syracuse to its lone national championship. The Golden Eagles lost 82-77 to Duke in November 2010 in their previous try.
C.J. Fair had 13 points and Dion Waiters added 12 to go with seven assists and three steals.
Darius Johnson-Odom led Marquette with 19 points and Jae Crowder had 15.
(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)