The recent struggles of Hampton Roads native, Davante Gardner have been well documented. After a two-point, one-rebound performance in 11 minutes of game action versus Villanova on Saturday, Gardner found himself in Marquette head coach, Buzz Williams’ doghouse. However, last night (February 25th), Gardner played himself out of the doghouse in a 74-71 victory over Syracuse.
In last night’s ESPN primetime “Big Monday” matchup versus 12th-ranked Syracuse, Gardner led Marquette with 26 points and 8 rebounds. Gardner made all seven of his field goal attempts and also made 12 of his 13 free throw attempts. The 26 points was a career- high for the 6’8” junior forward from Suffolk, Virginia.
Gardner finished his three-year varsity career at King’s Fork High School with 1,431 points and 992 rebounds, becoming the third player in school history to score over 1,000 points. Gardner averaged 22.2 points and 12.2 rebounds per game during his senior year and was named to the Virginia AAA All-State Team. Gardner saw limited time during his freshman year at Marquette, averaging 4.6 points and 2.2 rebounds in 9.0 minutes per game. His numbers improved as his minutes increased during his sophomore year, averaging 9.5 points and 5.3 rebounds in 19.1 minutes per game.
Gardner has continued to improve his numbers, currently averaging 12.1 points and 5.0 rebounds in 21.3 minutes this season. Gardner’s performance during this season, in a reserve role for Marquette, has him considered as one of the better sixth men in college basketball this season. Marquette has an overall record of 20-7 and is currently ranked 22nd in the most recent AP Top 25 poll. They are currently 11-4 in a strong Big East Conference and Gardner will need to continue to contribute big if Marquette hopes to make a strong run through the Big East Tournament and into the NCAA Tournament.