Marquette Stays Alive in Big East Race with Victory over Syracuse

By Eric Smith
Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

The battle for the regular season Big East crown is getting very good. It’s shaping to be an intense battle for the top seed in the conference tournament in New York City in a couple of weeks.

Tonight’s battle between 12th-ranked Syracuse Orange and 22nd-ranked Marquette Golden Eagles in the Bradley Center was a dogfight until the end, when Marquette pulled out the 73-71 victory over Syracuse.

The Orange made a run near midway of the second half where they extended their lead to close to double-digits. Marquette then went on a run of their own and never looked back, as they hit nine straight free throws at one point near the end of the half to secure their 11th Big East victory.

Marquette now pulls within a half game of leader the Georgetown Hoyas with four games left. It could be a four-game stretch where they end up winning the regular season crown.

The Golden Eagles face Notre Dame on Saturday in their senior night and then travels to Rutgers and St. John’s to close out the season. All four of those games should be wins for Marquette as they should enter the conference tournament hot as winners in six of their last seven games.

They also own the second-longest home win streak in the nation, with their 24th straight home victory over Syracuse tonight.

Georgetown, on the other hand, faces road games at Connecticut and at Villanova while hosting Rutgers and Syracuse. If they slip up once in those final four games and Marquette wins out, the Golden Eagles would be the top seed in New York.

This win tonight was huge for Marquette, as they’re setting themselves up nicely for March.

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