CLEVELAND, Ohio (Sports Network) – Darius Johnson-Odom made the go-ahead three- pointer with 25.1 seconds remaining, as Marquette took down Big East foe Syracuse, 66-62, in the third round of the NCAA Tournament.
Johnson-Odom ended with 17 points for the Golden Eagles (22-14), who are off to the Sweet 16 for the first time since 2003.
Jae Crowder added 16 points off the bench for Marquette, which beat sixth- seeded Xavier, 66-55, on Friday.
The No. 11 seed in the East Region, Marquette will next take on second-seeded North Carolina. The Golden Eagles have one national title (1977) in their history.
Dion Waiters finished with 18 points for the third-seeded Orange (27-8), who were trying to reach the Sweet 16 for a third consecutive season. Waiters played most of the second half due to Brandon Triche sitting with a bruised tailbone.
Kris Joseph tallied 12 points and nine rebounds for Syracuse, which rolled to a 77-60 decision over 14th-seeded Indiana State on Friday. Triche had eight points before getting injured early in the second half.
Marquette played Syracuse once in the regular season, beating the Orange, 76-70, on January 29th.
“I thought it was a great game,” Syracuse head coach Jim Boeheim said. “I thought both teams just went at it for 40 minutes.”
Layups from Waiters and Rick Jackson gave Syracuse a 59-56 edge with under three minutes to play.
But Crowder made a three-pointer at the other end to tie things up. Jimmy Butler then stole the ball from James Southerland to give Marquette the ball again. Junior Cadougan failed to make a jumper, though, and Waiters grabbed the rebound for the Orange.
Following a timeout, Syracuse was called for an over-and-back violation on the inbound pass with 51.6 seconds to go.
Johnson-Odom then put the Golden Eagles in front for good with a shot from beyond the arc. Scoop Jardine, who was limited to six points on 2-of-8 shooting, missed a three-pointer at the other end.
“We were getting a lot of ball movement. The ball wasn’t sticking in nobody’s hand,” Johnson-Odom said. “We kept moving it, kept moving it, trying to penetrate, trying to attack. I know it came down to the end of the shot clock. And Jimmy made a hard dribble to the left, and I happened to be spotting up right behind him. He just found the open man, what we do every day, and luckily I knocked the shot down.”
Cadougan and Crowder each made two free throws down the stretch to seal the victory.
Syracuse held a 19-9 lead midway through the first half, but the Golden Eagles used a 12-2 run to tie the game. Johnson-Odom tallied eight points during the burst, including a three-pointer with less than 5 1/2 minutes left to make it 21-21.
Johnson-Odom’s layup and a Butler jumper prior to the half gave Marquette a 34-31 edge at the break.
The Orange surged ahead early in the second half, but Marquette fought right back, and it remained close until the final buzzer.
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