Top 25: Marquette center sinks Syracuse

2013-02-26T00:00:00Z Top 25: Marquette center sinks SyracuseThe Associated Press The Associated Press
February 26, 2013 12:00 am  • 

MILWAUKEE - On Saturday, Davante Gardner was in Buzz Williams' doghouse with the Marquette coach benching his junior center after only 11 minutes against Villanova for poor play.

What a difference two days make. Gardner scored a career-high 26 points and No. 22 Marquette upset No. 12 Syracuse 74-71 on Monday night in a game that further tightened things at the top of the Big East.

"Against their zone he understands where their gap is," Williams said of the 6-foot-8-inch Gardner. "He just understands space and obviously he did a really good job."

After Marquette's 60-56 loss at Villanova on Saturday, Williams said he benched Gardner because "he played really bad."

Gardner played the exact opposite against Syracuse, making all seven of his shots and converting 12 of 13 free throws in 33 minutes.

"I know I didn't play well against Villanova ... so I decided I'd play my best against Syracuse and try to get my team a win," he said.

Marquette missed nine straight shots in the first half and settled for jumpers, falling behind 25-14.

Gardner started to make his large presence felt late in the half, scoring on a rebound with 3:45 left in the first half for his first field goal. Gardner dominated from there, finding gaps in Syracuse's zone and drawing fouls to get to the line.

"You've got to make that zone collapse, otherwise their length smothers you," Williams said of Syracuse.

Marquette (20-7, 11-4 Big East) pulled into second place in the conference, one-half game behind No. 7 Georgetown.

C.J. Fair had 20 points for Syracuse (22-6, 10-5), which has lost three of five and dropped into a tie for fourth with No. 21 Notre Dame. No. 10 Louisville is alone in third, a game behind Georgetown.

Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim said his team didn't rebound well or get to the line enough. Marquette made 29 of 35 free throws while Syracuse made only five of seven.

• No. 6 Kansas 108, Iowa State 96: In Ames, Iowa, Elijah Johnson scored a career-high 39 points - 12 in overtime - as the Jayhawks rallied to give coach Bill Self his 500th career win.

Travis Releford added 19 points for the Jayhawks (24-4, 12-3 Big 12), who snapped Iowa State's 22-game home winning streak and kept pace with No. 13 Kansas State atop the Big 12.

Johnson made two free throws with 4.9 seconds left in regulation to tie the game at 90-all. He and Releford buried three-pointers to put Kansas ahead 100-92 with 2:03 left, and Johnson drilled a 30-footer with 54 seconds left.

Korie Lucious had 23 points and Tyrus McGee had 22 for the Cyclones (19-9, 9-6), who dropped their third OT game in Big 12 play.

• No. 13 Kansas State 75, Texas Tech 55: In Manhattan, Kan., Thomas Gipson scored 20 points, Angel Rodriguez added 16 and Kansas State reached 12 conference wins for the first time in 40 years.

The 12 league wins are the most ever for a first-year coach at Kansas State (23-5, 12-3 Big 12) and more importantly keeps the Wildcats tied with No. 6 Kansas for first in the Big 12.

Dusty Hannahs scored 14 points for Tech (9-17, 2-13).

Gipson started for Kansas State forward Jordan Henriquez, who went to New York for his grandmother's funeral.

Women

• No. 1 Baylor 86, Oklahoma 64: In Norman, Okla., Brittney Griner scored 15 points, tied her season-high with 15 rebounds and blocked seven shots to lead the Bears (27-1, 16-0 Big 12). Griner sat out the last 11 1/2 minutes of the first half with two fouls.

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