Marquette star rebounds

Syracuse’s Baye Keita, left, battles Marquette’s Davante Gardner for a rebound in the second half. Gardner has a career-high 26 points.

Associated Press

Syracuse’s Baye Keita, left, battles Marquette’s Davante Gardner for a rebound in the second half. Gardner has a career-high 26 points.

MILWAUKEE — Davante Gardner was in Buzz Williams' doghouse Saturday. The Marquette coach benched his junior center after 11 minutes against Villanova for poor play.

What a difference two days make.

Gardner had a career-high 26 points and No. 22 Marquette beat No. 12 Syracuse 74-71 on Monday night to further tighten things at the top of the Big East.

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

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

Gardner played the opposite against Syracuse, making all seven of his shots and hitting 12 of 13 free throws in 33 minutes. He even tried to help teammate Jamil Wilson wipe up some sweat on the court in the final minutes during a timeout.

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

Marquette missed nine consecutive shots in the first half and was settling for jumpers while falling behind 25-14. Gardner started to make his presence felt late in the half, scoring on a rebound with 3:45 left for his first field goal.

Gardner dominated from there. When he wasn't scoring, he was getting fouled and making free throws.

Williams said Gardner understands how to find gaps in zone defenses, including the one run by the Orange.

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

Marquette (20-7, 11-4) pulled into second place in the conference, a 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. 6 KANSAS 108, IOWA ST. 96, OT: Elijah Johnson had a career-high 39 points, 12 in overtime, and the Jayhawks (24-4, 12-3 Big 12) rallied to snap the Cyclones' 22-game home winning streak and give coach Bill Self his 500th career win.

NO. 13 KANSAS ST. 75, TEXAS TECH 55: Thomas Gipson had 20 points, Angel Rodriguez added 16 and the host Wildcats (23-5, 12-3 Big 12) reached 12 conference wins for the first time in 40 years.

FAMU 75, S.C. STATE 72, 2OT: Reggie Lewis had 21 points and hit the only four 3-pointers either team made, in 36 combined attempts, to lift the host Rattlers (8-19, 5-8 MEAC).

B-CU 72, SAVANNAH ST. 58: Adrien Coleman had 21 points and 11 rebounds to help Bethune-Cookman (12-16, 7-6 MEAC) to its third straight win.

Women

NO. 1 BAYLOR 86, OKLA. 64: Brittney Griner had 15 points, tied her season high with 15 rebounds and blocked seven shots to lead the visiting Bears (27-1, 16-0 Big 12) to their 25th straight victory. Griner passed Connecticut's Maya Moore for fourth place in women's history with 3,045 career points.

AP POLL: Baylor remained No. 1 for an eighth straight week. Iowa State returned to the poll at No. 23, and Oklahoma State fell out.

Marquette star rebounds 02/25/13 [Last modified: Tuesday, February 26, 2013 12:34am]

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