Syracuse-Marquette Preview


A poor shooting performance doomed Syracuse to its first home loss in over two years.

The 12th-ranked Orange will try to end No. 22 Marquette's lengthy home winning streak in their final scheduled Big East matchup Monday night.

Syracuse (22-5, 10-4) has largely paid the price for poor shooting performances throughout the season, losing four of seven games when making under 40.0 percent, while going 19-1 when reaching that threshold.

The Orange were victimized by that again Saturday, making 34.0 percent from the field - 4 of 20 from 3-point range - as their 38-game home winning streak was snapped with a 57-46 loss to Georgetown.

"Offensively, the games we have lost, we have struggled shooting the basketball and (Saturday was) no exception," coach Jim Boeheim said. "Offensively, we just couldn't play well enough and that's been something that's been hardest in our losses; shooting the basketball."

Going on the road may not help since Syracuse is converting just 36.0 from the field - 28.2 from long range - while dropping three of the last four as the visitor.

The Orange will certainly need to improve on that against the Golden Eagles (19-7, 10-4), who have put together a 23-game winning streak at the Bradley Center.

The teams are also trying to move closer to the conference-leading Hoyas. Syracuse, Marquette and No. 10 Louisville are one game back of Georgetown with four left in the regular season.

The Orange are 8-4 all-time against the Golden Eagles, but fell 76-70 in their most recent visit to Milwaukee on Jan. 29, 2011. They overcame 39.3 percent shooting to beat them 73-66 at home in the only matchup last season on Jan. 7, 2012.

"Marquette is a tough team," forward C.J. Fair said. "We have to be ready to play. They're one of the top teams in the Big East so we have to come ready to play. We cannot afford to lose any more games."

That likely means better guard play from Brandon Triche and Michael Carter-Williams, who's second in the nation with 8.0 assists per game. Triche went 1 for 7 from 3-point range to finish with 10 points Saturday, while Carter-Williams had seven points and five assists.

Triche scored 16 points in the most recent meeting with Marquette.

The Golden Eagles are looking to resume their dominance at home, where they're holding opponents to 40.5 percent shooting during the winning streak.

They're also looking to bounce back from a lackluster effort in Saturday's 60-56 defeat at Villanova. Coach Buzz Williams cited a lack of effort as the problem while also benching Davante Gardner for all but 11 minutes, bluntly stating that "he played really bad."

"We were not 10-3 (in the Big East) because we did something unique offensively or defensively," Williams said. "We weren't 10-3 because we're the most-talented or best-coached. We were in a position to be in a position because of how hard we played. And we did not play hard enough."

Gardner may be looking forward to a return home after managing just two points versus the Wildcats. He averages 13.5 at the Bradley Center, 5.4 per game more than he's scoring on the road.

Vander Blue, who leads the team with 14.7 points per game, has averaged nearly the same at home (14.8) as on the road (14.4). However, he managed seven points and shot 2 for 8 Saturday following a pair of 19-point performances.