MILWAUKEE – Jae Crowder scored 13 of his 25 points in the second half and Marquette handed No. 9 Syracuse its fourth straight loss, 76-70 on Saturday.
C.J. Fair's layup tied the game at 64, but Crowder's layup put Marquette ahead by two. Kris Joseph's jumper tied it for the last time for Syracuse which never led in the game. Jimmy Butler hit a 3-pointer with 1:51 to go and then Darius Johnson-Odom made another 3 as Marquette withstood the charge.
Joseph led the Orange with 18 points, but it wasn't enough as Syracuse (18-4, 5-4 Big East) who have lost four in a row for the first time since Jan. 16-29, 2006.
Butler finished with 19 for Marquette (14-8, 5-4).
Butler and Dwight Buycks each made one of two free throws and Johnson-Odom made two in the final minute to seal the victory.
A porous defense figured prominently in the Orange's previous three losses. Then-No. 5 Pittsburgh shredded the Syracuse zone for a 74-66 victory Jan. 17. Villanova, ranked eighth at the time, hit 11 3-pointers in an 83-72 victory last Saturday at the Carrier Dome. On Tuesday, Seton Hall made 10 of 17 3s in a 90-68 rout, the worst home loss since an 85-61 defeat on Feb. 7, 1998.
The Orange had won five straight over Marquette since it joined the conference in 2005 and held a 7-2 all-time record coming into the game. The Golden Eagles had beaten every Big East opponent except for Syracuse, but Crowder and Butler changed that.
Darius Johnson-Odom added 17 points for Marquette which had open Big East play with victories over West Virginia and Rutgers. Then, the Golden Eagles lost four of six to nationally ranked teams, including consecutive defeats to then 16th-ranked Notre Dame last Saturday and fifth-ranked Connecticut on Tuesday. The Golden Eagles, 2-7 overall against ranked teams this season, had frittered away second-half leads in each of their last three losses because of defensive breakdowns.
Scopp Jardine's reverse layup off a Marquette turnover capped a 25-14 run, erased Marquette's 11-point halftime lead and tied the game at 56 with 8:18 to go.
Syracuse started the second half with an 8-1 run while holding Marquette scoreless for almost four minutes to pull to 43-39 with 16:38 left. The Orange cut off Marquette's driving lanes which had been wide open in the first half and forced the Golden Eagles to shoot from the outside. Marquette missed three shots in the span and turned the ball over once as Syracuse finally made it a close game.
Crowder and Johnson-Odom each had 12 points to pace Marquette's attack that went over and through Syracuse's zone defense. The Orange contested Marquette's drives through the paint, but couldn't stop the scoring. The Golden Eagles made 13 of 15 free throws to Syracuse's 1 of 2.
Marquette led by 11 points three times in the first, the last on Jimmy Butler's close-in jumper that gave Marquette a 42-31 lead at the half.