MILWAUKEE—With two minutes remaining in regulation, the Golden Eagles had been there before.
They saw an 11 point halftime lead dwindle down to a tie game. Momentum had swung the other way and they were staring defeat in the face. However, Jimmy Butler wasn't going to have it.
Butler made sure Marquette was going to walk out of the Bradley Center with a victory by hitting a clutch three-pointer from the corner with the shot clock about to expire.
Subsequently, Syracuse freshman C.J. Fair turned the ball over and it was Darius Johnson-Odom's turn. With the shot clock approaching zero, Johnson-Odom hit a contested three-pointer to put MU up by two possessions with one minute left.
A few free-throws later, the game was in the books. A 76-70 win for the Golden Eagles over the No. 10 ranked Orange.
Marquette came out of the gates firing, jumping out to a quick 10-3 lead capped by a one handed slam from Johnson-Odom. The Orange battled back to make it a two-point game with 12 minutes to go in the half.
Over the next six minutes the Golden Eagles went on a 14-5 run to expand the lead to 11—the largest of the game and the margin at half.
Syracuse came out and played inspired basketball following intermission. They cut the lead to four just over three minutes into the half. At the 8:18 mark of the second half a Scoop Jardine layup tied the game.
The teams tussled back and forth but Marquette never relinquished the lead. Butler and Johnson-Odom, then sealed the deal for the Golden Eagles.
Jae Crowder led Marquette (14-8, 5-4) in scoring with 25 points and grabbed seven rebounds. Time and time again, Crowder made baskets while the rest of the team was struggling.
"He keeps us in games," said Marquette head coach Buzz Williams. "[It] doesn't necessarily mean that we win, but he is so valuable to what we do. He has such a presence about who he is on the floor and it's the same presence as he does on the floor, which is what makes it magnetic."
Butler finished the game with 19 points on 6-of-10 shooting and led MU with eight rebounds. Johnson-Odom added 17 points and shot a perfect seven-of-seven from the line.
Kris Joseph led the Orange (18-4, 5-4) with 18 points. Jardine pitched in 13 points and 13 assists.
The Golden Eagles will travel to Villanova, Pa. for a Wednesday night contest with the Wildcats.
NOTES: With the victory, Marquette has now defeated every Big East team since joining the conference in the 2005-06 season…Jimmy Butler has 497 career rebounds. With 3 more rebounds, Butler will become the 17th player in school history to tally at least 1000 points and 500 rebounds.
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