On Feb. 11, 2012, Mick Cronin stood at the podium inside Marquette’s media room and said he would “bet anyone a hot dog” the Golden Eagles wouldn’t lose another home game all year.
Little did Cronin know that Marquette would wind up winning 16 more games in the Bradley Center (and BMO Harris Bradley Center), good for the second best current streak in the country.
Marquette has outscored its opponents 1,722 (74.8) to 1,440 (62.6). The Golden Eagles have scored as many as 95 points and as few as 49 during the streak. They have allowed as few as 48 and as many as 80.
So with a tough matchup against No. 6 Syracuse looming tomorrow, we thought it fitting to relive each of Marquette’s 23 home wins:
1. Jan. 1, 2012 — Villanova (81-77): Darius Johnson-Odom threw down a dunk off an alley-oop from Vander Blue on Marquette’s first possession, and Marquette led the entire way. A 9-0 run, including seven from Jae Crowder, to open the second half put the game out of reach.
2. Jan. 11 — St. John’s (83-64): Davante Gardner’s career night of 22 points and 15 rebounds led the way, while D’Angelo Harrison took on Marquette and its fans before fouling out. Darius Johnson-Odom scored 18 points after halftime, and Marquette as a team made 67.7 percent of their shots in the final half.
3. Jan. 14 — Pittsburgh (62-57): The Panthers were 0-4 in Big East play at a time, but they sure didn’t play like it. Marquette trailed by five at halftime before a 13-0 second half run helped the Golden Eagles pull away.
4. Jan. 16 — No. 21 Louisville (74-63): Marquette trailed 18-2 to start this one, but answered with a 32-12 run. Jae Crowder’s 3-pointer and subsequent throat-slash gesture in the final minutes was a lasting image. He double-doubled with 14 points and 11 rebounds in the win.
5. Jan. 24 — South Florida (67-47): Career victory No. 100 for Buzz Williams came in relatively easy fashion, as Davante Gardner went for 15 points and seven rebounds while Jae Crowder recorded six of the team’s 13 steals.
6. Jan. 31 — Seton Hall (66-59): Another game, another slow start. But thanks in part to a huge alley-oop dunk from Junior Cadougan to Vander Blue in front of his favorite player, LeBron James, and Dwyane Wade, a 16-2 second half run allowed Marquette to take home its seventh straight win.
7. Feb. 11 — Cincinnati (95-78): Marquette scored 25 points off 14 Cincinnati turnovers, including a stretch where the Bearcats turned the ball over on four of five possessions. Marquette had four players in double-figures, including 23 apiece from Darius Johnson-Odom and Jae Crowder, shooting 57 percent from the field as a team.
8. Feb. 22 — Rutgers (82-65): Jae Crowder’s Big East Player of the Year candidacy began to heat up the week before after he poured in 29 points at Connecticut, and he kept up the pace with 27 points and seven rebounds against Rutgers. A 12-2 run late in the second half helped Marquette pull away.
9. March 3 — No. 12 Georgetown (83-69): An emotional Senior Day was made sweeter after Jae Crowder poured in 26 points and grabbed 14 rebounds, and Darius Johnson-Odom added 17 in a win over the Hoyas. Marquette was ranked seventh in the country at the time of the win.
10. Nov. 11 — Colgate (84-63): After being condensed-out in Charleston, S.C., Marquette opened its season with a win over the Raiders. Donning their camouflaged uniforms, Jamil Wilson scored 15 points and the Golden Eagles had 23 assists on 31 assists and just eight turnovers.
11. Nov. 13 — Southeastern Louisiana (64-53): Marquette led by just two with six minutes to play, but two Davante Gardner layups extended the lead to six, 57-51. The Golden Eagles had 18 assists on 22 made field goals.
12. Nov. 26 — UMBC (79-46): In the return of former Marquette forward Brett Rosebro, Jamil Wilson scored 15 points on 7-of-8 shooting and Junior Cadougan added eight assists to zero turnovers in Marquette’s biggest win of the year. Jake Thomas also had 12 points off the bench.
13. Dec. 8 — Wisconsin (60-50): Vander Blue scored 17 points and tallied four steals, but it was Junior Cadougan’s 18 points and six assists that helped Marquette pull away in the second half. It was a near-must-win for the Golden Eagles, and they played as well as they could have.
14. Dec. 15 — Savannah State (71-51): Marquette became the 43rd NCAA program to win 1,500 games in a blowout over the Tigers. Vander Blue and Davante Gardner each scored 14 points, and Steve Taylor’s career-high 10 points were a high-point off the bench.
15. Dec. 22 — LSU (84-80): After an embarrassing loss at Green Bay, the Golden Eagles responded with a close win over the Tigers. Davante Gardner hit all nine free throws to score a season-high 19 points, and Junior Cadougan and Vander Blue each chipped in 17 in the win. 16 Marquette turnovers kept it close.
16. Dec. 29 — North Carolina Central (75-66): In his second game back from a first semester suspension, Todd Mayo scored 12 points on 4-of-5 shooting and grabbed six rebounds to help Marquette in its final tune-up before Big East play. Junior Cadougan and Vander Blue each scored 16 points.
17. Jan. 1, 2013 — Connecticut (82-76 OT): Junior Cadougan played hero by draining a 30-footer as time expired to force overtime. After some confusion to start the extra period — head referee Karl Hess sent the teams the wrong way — Marquette prevailed in overtime to open the Big East season with a win.
18. Jan. 5 — No. 15 Georgetown (49-48): Buzz Williams took a page from good friend John Gruden, “icing” Greg Whittington before his final free throw and the Hoyas down one. Whittington missed, and Marquette moved to 2-0. Trent Lockett had nine points and 10 rebounds in the win.
19. Jan. 16 — Seton Hall (69-62): After two overtime games and a one-point victory, Marquette had itself an “easy” Big East win over the Pirates. Seton Hall had just eight healthy players, and Marquette was led by Davante Gardner’s 17 points and Todd Mayo added 12 in the win.
20. Jan. 26 — Providence (81-71): BatGate took over the Bradley Center on this date, as the game was delayed four different times because of a bat flying around the court. After a few good laughs (and scares), Marquette rebounded from a tough overtime loss at Cincinnati to pick up Big East win No. 5.
21. Jan. 28 — South Florida (63-50): Vander Blue did something neither Jae Crowder or Darius Johnson-Odom did during their times at Marquette: scoring 30 points. He made 13-of-20 shots and scored 21 after halftime. He also grabbed eight rebounds in a game that wasn’t as close as the 13-points suggested.
22. Feb. 9 — DePaul (89-76): Marquette shot better than 56 percent from the field and had five scorers in double-figures, led by Vander Blue’s 18 points. DePaul’s leading scorer Cleveland Melvin scored just nine points, but nine 3-pointers kept the Blue Demons in it late.
23. Feb. 16 — No. 16 Pittsburgh (79-69): It’s only fitting that Marquette’s latest home win was also its best. The Golden Eagles shot 56 percent from the field, limited the Panthers to just 42 percent shooting and got 19 points from Vander Blue on 7-of-8 shooting. Marquette moved into first place by itself in the commanding win over Pitt, which had won seven of eight entering the contest.
24. Feb. 25 — Syrcause (??-??)