Marquette had the lead for most of the first half. It was in large measure to the great outside shooting as they made seven 3-pointers, displaying great ball movement that allowed Lazar Haward, Jimmy Butler, and Darius Odom to break down SU's 2/3 defense.
SU, on the other hand, had a sluggish start with eight turnovers, but found its rhythm with a 7-2 run just before halftime, sparked by Jackson and Onuaku in the interior. SU took advantage of the undersized Golden Eagles and forced them into foul trouble. Hitting four free throws, the Orange, despite being outperformed, tied it 34-34 going into the break.
At the start of the second half, SU stormed out with an impressive 10-2 run. It crashed the boards and dominated with second-chance scoring opportunities. Onuaku and Jackson dissected the Golden Eagles and gave SU a 46-36 advantage.
Syracuse appeared to have gained control, scoring 20 points in an eight-minute span and leading as much as 70-53. As it limited Marquette's shot opportunities and prevented second-chance shot.
Brandon Triche further rejuvenated the Orange with drives to the basket, and fellow point guard Scoop Jardine hit three field goals and finished with nine points. Johnson was particularly unstoppable, scoring with lay-ups and dunks.
All SU had to do was close out on a strong and eliminate defensive breakdowns. But the opposite occurred when Marquette cashed in on three turnovers and missed free throws, pushing SU to the wire with a surprising fight to the finish.
Marquette hit three straight 3-pointers and converted on 3-point play that cut SU's lead to five points. However, in the end the Orange survived and secured victory.