Syracuse's brilliant men's basketball season has continued with a five-game win streak, three of which came on the road in a six-day stretch against Rutgers, West Virginia, and Notre Dame. This made the Orange 18-1 for the fifth time in the program's history.
In the Carrier Dome Saturday afternoon, SU won again, holding off Marquette 76-71 in front of 29,011 spectators, the largest crowd of the season to date.
SU won a harder than expected contest by just averting a late-game collapse. It overcame 21 turnovers and Marquette's nine 3-pointers due to a strong second-half effort. The Orange also dominated in the paint (56 points, to Marquette's 22) and won the battle of the boards 46-21. They also ran the Golden Eagles off the court accounting for 16 lay-ups.
In a longer-than-normal press conference, head coach Jim Boeheim took extra time to assess his players' overall performance.
"In the second half, we made an effort to get the ball inside", Boeheim said. "We do have a big size advantage. I thought we really exploited that and played probably the best basketball defensively and offensive we've played all year for (the first) 15 or 16 minutes in the second half."
SU again displayed a balanced offense. Wesley Johnson, emerging as a Big East Player of the Year front-runner, posted a double-double - 22 points on nine-for-15 shooting, plus 15 rebounds.
Kris Joseph contributed with his second double-double of the season adding 14 points and 11 boards. Fifth year senior Arinze Onuaku and junior Rick Jackson chipped in 12 points apiece. Combined, they were nearly flawless from the field with 11-for-12 shooting.
This helped make up for the fact that Andy Rautins did not have a point all afternoon. However, Rautins led his team with six assists and was unselfish, deferring to pass the ball to his teammates.