(22) Marquette Tops (12) Syracuse

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Tom Maguire/BIG EAST Conference/Collegiate Images/Getty Images(MILWAUKEE) — Davante Gardner sure picked a nice time to play well.

Gardner had a career-high 26 points to lead 22nd-ranked Marquette past 12th-ranked Syracuse, 74-71 on Monday at the Bradley Center.

“Against their zone he understands where their gap is,” Marquette coach Buzz Williams said of his center. “He just understands space and obviously he did a really good job.” Gardner also added eight rebounds.

In Marquette’s last game against Villanova, Gardner was benched after playing just 11 minutes. He played 33 minutes in this one, pulling Marquette into second place in the Big East Conference. 

Syracuse (22-6) lost their second straight game and squandered an 11-point first half lead. “We scored enough points tonight, I just think our defense wasn’t good enough, especially our rebounding,” Orange coach Jim Boeheim said.

C.J. Fair had 20 points to lead Syracuse.

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