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Player Grades: Marquette vs Syracuse

Vander Blue (6 pts, 2 reb, 23min) Vander got a lucky bounce on his first three to start the game and immediately followed that up with his midrange specialty for a quick five points as it looked like PTP Blue had come to play. However, he would only score one point the rest of the night, a free throw with less than 1 second remaining. He couldn’t buy a bucket, going 2-7 from the floor, and was skittish with the ball, turning it over twice. He ended up playing only 23 minutes as Buzz found other lineups that flowed better. It was simply not his night tonight. D

Junior Cadougan (12 pts, 3 ast, 4 stl) Junior’s first foray into the paint was a bucket but he then proceeded to go AWOL for about 15 minutes in the first half. He came to life out of nowhere, with 1:30 left in the half and proceeded to have one of his best games of his life. No, the stat sheet isn’t stuffed, but coming off three consecutive poor games, Junior was able to remain composed, committing only one turnover in team high 38 minutes. His defense was also stellar, picking off the Orange four times, including twice down the final stretch. A

Chris Otule (0 pts, 4 reb, 1 blk) Chris wasn’t able to get much going on the interior offensively, but his contributions rarely show up there. He was spacing himself smartly when bot he and Gardner were on the floor together, giving the Ox plenty of room in the pen. Conditioning is the only knock against him now, as he was gassed early on with no Gardner to sub in. B+

Trent Lockett (0 pts, 4 reb, 13 min) Lockett acted as Marquette’s main rebounder early on, crashing hard on every possession. Lockett saw very little time in the second though, as shooters were needed to break the zone. He didn’t play well, going 0-2 from the field, but wasn’ t terrible. C

Juan Anderson (1 pt, 2 min, 1 TO) It looks like the extended minutes are coming to an end for the sophomore, who is still too big of a liability on defense and not enough of an offensive threat, in with Jamil playing well. He can still be a spot contributor on this team, but at this point, it appears Steve Taylor has passed him on the depth chart. D

Davante Gardner (26 pts, 8 reb, 33 min) I usually give a brief synopsis of each player’s stat line here, but Davante deserves to have the complete line shown. He made all seven of his shots and hit 12-13 free throws, truly living up to his automatic moniker and amazing  Syracuse journalists. Davante scored 18 points in the second half, turning an inept offense into a high powered zone-buster single handedly. When noted curmudgeon Jim Boeheim gives you praise (as unwilling as he was to give it), you know you did something right. He had Twitter abuzz and even sank a 16-foot set shot. Did I mention he finished without a foul? Amazing doesn’t do his game justice. A+

Jamil Wilson (12 pts, 7 ast, 5 reb) Jamil’s maturation is best exemplified by that fact that he had one of his best games this season while shooting a paltry 1-8 from long distance. He took over at the end without shooting, but playing an extremely efficient point guard. Jamil still finished with 12 points and played 33 minutes, 19 of which came in the second half. Had a few more threes fallen, we would be talking about a career game for the junior. A-

Todd Mayo (9 pts, 2 ast, 16 min) Without looking, can you answer how many field goals Mayo had. The sophomore only  hit two shots in six attempts, both treys, but boy were they huge, making them seem like they were worth double. (Also of note, that hustle play in the first half had Buzz giving Todd a standing O.) Mayo’s 3-pointer beat the buzzer was a knockdown blow, giving Marquette a 4-point lead and breaking hearing aides everywhere. Keep shooting. A

Steve Taylor (4 pts, 4 reb, 16 min) Steve’s first offensive touch came on an offensive put back, resulting in an AND-1, his specialty. He is  a magician on the offensive boards and a player Buzz gushed about. He was also on the floor for much of Marquette’ game-winning run, spacing the floor well. Freshman simply don’t get Buzz’ trust in big games, so you know he is a special one, though his defense still needs a lot of work.  B+

Jake Thomas (4 pts, 7 mins) Did Buzz pull one out of his hat or what with this one. I don’t care if Jake doesn’t score another point the rest of the season, he will forever go down in Marquette history  for his four-point play late in the first half. He hadn’t made a field goal in over two months (Dec. 22) yet he came in abund completely flipped the game on its head. I realize he did nothing the rest of the game, but that shot alone gives him an… A

Jamal Ferguson, Derrick Wilson and Dylan Flood get NAs.

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