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Friars out-muscled at Marquette, 61-50

Friday, January 31, 2014


Maybe it was just time for a stinker.

And maybe it’s time to consider how tough life remains on the road, especially in the Big East Conference. In spite of the college game’s attempt at returning to more of a pure, athletic game of basketball this season…a good, old-fashioned rugby scrum/rock fight broke out at the Bradley Center in Milwaukee, WI Thursday night. Marquette’s Golden Eagles carried that fight most of the night, and snapped Providence’s five-game win streak with a 61-50 decision.

Can’t imagine the Friars will be using much from the first half of play for their end-of-season highlight reel. While MU slowly pulled out in front, PC became the gang that couldn’t shoot straight. Or, the gang that couldn’t shoot at all. A meager five-for-28 performance from the floor (and 3-of-7 from the line) in the first half doomed Providence to a 31-14 halftime hole, that ultimately became too tough to climb out from. Bryce Cotton scored nine of those 14 points…with his teammates connecting on only two shots in 20 attempts.

Marquette (12-9, 4-4 Big East) didn’t exactly set the Bradley Center on fire with its shooting, either. But their physical (very physical) style of play was effective to the point that it kept the Friars off-stride all night. The Golden Eagles’ depth was a factor as well, with 10 of the 11 players who got into the game scoring points. The 17-point halftime lead stretched to 19 at 37-18 with 17:28 to play…when Providence joined the fight.

PC ripped off 16 unanswered points, with LaDontae Henton, Tyler Harris and Kadeem Batts leading the charge. The three had been held scoreless by MU’s defense in the first half, but a three-point play from Henton with 11:33 remaining pulled the Friars within 37-34. Switching to a 2-3 zone defense seemed to stun the Golden Eagles, but to their credit, they never relinquished the lead. Freshman Deonte Burton (nine points, six rebounds) and junior Todd Mayo (eight points) scored six points in a stretch that extended the lead back to nine, at 49-40, with 6:24 to play.

After that, there was little fuel left in the Friars’ tank after coming back from the large deficit. A Henton jump shot got PC within five less than a minute later, but they could not close further. Inside, 6-7 Jamil Wilson (11 points) and 6-8, 290-pound Davonte Gardner (14 points, six boards) hit driving layups and free throws down the stretch that kept them out in front. In transition, MU continually beat the Friars up the floor for easier scores, as Providence (15-6, 5-3 Big East) found themselves misplaced defensively most of the night.

The end result – was a misplaced winning streak, left behind broken on the Bradley Center floor.

Friar Notes

The Bradley Center continues to be Providence’s personal “Little House of Horrors,” as PC is now 0-7 in the building (since MU joined the Big East), and 0-8 all-time in Milwaukee. The win is also the 10th straight overall for Marquette over PC, with the Friars’ last win coming on January 4th, 2007 at the Dunk 74-59…Cotton led the Friars with 20 points, and played all 40 minutes for a 6th straight game, but also committed five turnovers…Henton was held scoreless in the first half, but rebounded well in the second to provide some offensive help with 18 points…Harris suffered through a 1-for-10 shooting performance with just three points, but he did pull in a game-high 11 rebounds as the Friars outrebounded MU 40-37…outside of Cotton and Henton, PC managed just four field goals from four different players (Batts, Harris, Josh Fortune and Brice Kofane) in 25 shot attempts…#1 in the nation in free throw percentage going in, Providence could only manage a 10-for-17 game at the line against Marquette…one other telling number – the Golden Eagles had 18 made free throws (in 27 tries) while PC had just 17 attempts on the night. The more physical team carried the play, and apparently the officiating crew (Doug Shows, Roger Ayers and Joe Lindsay) agreed, with MU’s constant clutching-and-grabbing being rewarded. It worked, with PC held to just 32% shooting for the night – and just 18% in the first half…the 50 points scored by the Friars matched a season low, as they also scored 50 in a road win at URI…it’s a quick turnaround, as PC plays in Chicago against DePaul Saturday afternoon in a 1:00 pm tip (12:45 pre-game on 103.7 FM and friars.com)…and Round One in the Rooke vs. Rooke broadcast battle goes to my son Austin, a freshman who was behind the mic for Marquette student radio. Yes, my money and my son both go to MU…


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Walter Miller

Last night's Friar team, at least in the first half, brought back painful memories of teams from recent years. Inept ball handling (other than Bryce Cotton), poor shot selection and weak foul shooting. From the opening tip off they seemed dazed and confused.
Frankly I expected better from this current Friar group.

I hope this is just a blip on the screen and not a harbinger of things to come. Can't remember when the Friars missed so many ridiculously easy shots around the basket.

Between Tyler Harris's inept ball handling & poor shot selection, to Josh Fortune's continued schizophrenic shooting to Kadeem Batts' inability to hold onto the ball or stay on his feet, it became very challenging to watch.

Credit to the team for battling back and not giving up. However, they cannot continue this type of regression and expect to be successful, especially on the road.

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