Syracuse Defeats Marquette: Reactions, Tidbits & Whatnot

The No. 1 Syracuse Orange improved to 17-0 with a 73-66 win over the No. 20 Marquette Golden Eagles. Let's delve into it.

Baye Moussa Keita was questionable coming into the game. He not only played but provided some critical scoring down the stretch. Namely two key free throws.

"I’m feeling good now,’’ Keita said. "My hip was bruised last game. I’m getting back from it.’’

"I’m going to make them,’’ Keita said of his thoughts as he went to the line. "Whenever I step to the line, my mind’s always like ‘I’m going to make them’.’’

Scoop Jardine meanwhile had a rough game and made quite a few Scoopid mistakes, though he wasn't going to let that keep him down.

"I’m not disappointed at all because we got a win,’’ Jardine said. "We’re a good enough team that when I play bad guys can step up. That’s the beauty of playing on this team.’’

With the game getting away from the Orange in the second half, Kris Joseph made the senior leadership move required of him to keep the team moving.

The senior forward scored a team-high 17 points on 5-of-8 shooting. On a day when SU players struggled to shoot 39 percent from the floor, Joseph was the lone Orange man to make more than 50 percent of his field goal attempts.

And of course, you can't talk about this game without talking about Dion Waiters' massive block towards the end of the game.

"They kept driving and kicking out and we got sucked in like two of three times,’’ Waiters said. "I told myself ‘Next time he does it, I’m going to get out there.’ He has a great pump-fake. My whole intent was to run out there and get him off the spot at least.’’

"That was the play of the game,’’ Syracuse senior Scoop Jardine said. "You never know what could happen. They had their best shooter shooting it. If they make that three, they’re down one.’’

So what was the deal with that technical foul on Fabricio de Melo? Don't ask Fab, he still has no idea:

"They say I elbowed him, but I don’t know what happened," Melo said afterward, in the comfort of the Orange locker room. "I don’t know. If I elbowed him, it was by accident. I was confused. But what they say, you can’t do anything about it."

Brandon Triche led the Orange in scoring thanks to a hot first-half and a hot hand from three-point land.

"I’m just trying to put two halves together," Triche said. "Last two games, it’s just one half. Last game, I wasn’t really aggressive in the first half, so this game, I tried to be aggressive first half. The shots were falling."

As the Eagles made their run in the second half and the Orange had to clamp down, we saw Boeheim tighten the reigns on his rotation:

Coming in to today’s game, 10 Orange players averaged 10 or more minutes of run a game. It's not probable that nugget of info will hold true all season, as we're already seeing Coach Boeheim tighten up his rotation for Big East play. Against Marquette we saw Rakeem Christmas for only two minutes in the second half, zero minutes from James Southerland in the second half, and no court time at all for freshman Michael Carter-Williams. Syracuse is deep, very deep, but we’ll likely see a more traditional 7-8 man rotation for the rest of the season.

And, of course, the season-high crowd was the real winner today:

"Unbelievable. The floor was shaking. It doesn’t get any better than that in ‘Cuse nation."

So now that the Orange are 17-0 and have another quality win, are they starting to make believers of the "experts"? Perhaps. SI's Andy Glockner might be the first one to admit it:

I would take the Orange over Kentucky right now on a neutral floor (zone would really bother the Cats' offense) and would probably take them over North Carolina, too. Are they better than my preseason national champ pick, Ohio State, when the Buckeyes are fully healthy? Let's just say I'd be down for that matchup on the final weekend of the season.

Keita, Waiters and Triche talk about the big win:

Nuggets from Boeheim's presser:

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