Golden Eagles drive Friars batty
Sunday, January 27, 2013
Defense and rebounding. They’re usual ingredients for success in the Big East, especially on the road.
Unfortunately for Providence, they didn’t have much of either Saturday in Milwaukee, WI…as the Friars dropped an 81-71 decision to the Marquette Golden Eagles.
The slow starts that have plagued PC since the start of conference play continued at the Bradley Center. After managing a 6-6 draw in the opening five minutes, despite four early turnovers, Marquette got out to a 13-2 run largely behind guards Junior Cadougan and Vander Blue. Cadougan’s penetration and ability to find the open man had the Friars guessing – and reaching – on the defensive end.
That’s no way to win a Big East game, especially on the road.
As the Golden Eagles cooled off, the Friars began to find their range, closing to within two at 25-23 with 6:37 left in the half. 6-10 sophomore transfer Sidiki Johnson provided the force inside that PC has been lacking, powering his way to 11 points in the period (a career high).
MU answered with a 9-2 run to stretch the lead back to nine, with freshman wing Steve Taylor finding his mark, and Juan Anderson hitting an open trey. Second chance opportunities were also key, and Marquette eventually settled for a 40-32 lead at the half.
The tone had been set for the second half, however, as the Golden Eagles wore the Friars out on the backboards. Behind junior big man Davante Gardner and wing forwards Jamil Wilson and Trent Lockett, MU hit seven of their first nine shots in the half to open up a 16-point lead with 13:15 to play.
The Friars got themselves untracked as Bryce Cotton (19 points) finally connected on a couple of threes, Kadeem Batts (scoreless in the first half) hit two inside shots and Kris Dunn contributed offensively. Twice in the half, PC closed within six points, the last time at 63-57 with 6:39 remaining.
Ultimately, patience paid off for Marquette – working the ball deep into the shot clock, the Friars played decent defense for the first 30 seconds of a possession…only to find Cadougan, Blue and Lockett scoring before the shot clock went off. A 15-5 run pushed the advantage back out to 16, 78-62, with 2:15 to play as MU coasted with the win.
Marquette (14-4, 5-1 Big East) shot 58% from the floor in the second half, never letting the Friars get a real chance to steal one on the road. A very balanced effort for the Golden Eagles, with eight different players scoring, and nine different players grabbing rebounds showed their depth and versatility. While Providence (10-10, 2-6 Big East) took care of the ball after the opening five minutes, the rebounding and defensive efforts simply weren’t as they needed to be.
The end result – another loss on the road in a very unforgiving league.
At several points throughout the second half, a stray bat managed to fly into the Bradley Center and “dive bomb” several of the players, coaches and officials on the floor. Ultimately, the lights were turned out in the arena during an extended time out in an effort to chase the bat out of the main arena…PC’s defensive strategy was to limit Marquette’s ability to get into the paint and score from close range. But opening in a 2-3 zone, the Friars could not shut off MU’s quickness or ability to find the open shooter off of dribble penetration. 22 of their 29 made field goals came from the lane…Cadougan led Marquette with 15 points, while Blue, Gardner and Lockett each scored 13…after Cotton’s 19, Johnson’s career high 14 points (with five rebounds), LaDontae Henton’s 12 points and Dunn’s 10 rounded out the double-figure scorers for the Friars. Vincent Council added nine points and eight assists…the difference in the game came from the backboards, as the Golden Eagles finished with a 35-27 advantage, including 14 offensive boards for 12 second chance points…MU is 2nd in the league in FT%, and also shot 83% from the line Saturday to keep PC at bay…Marquette, having already won three overtime games this season, finds themselves now tied for the league lead at 5-1 after Syracuse’s loss to Villanova Saturday…the Friars are off until next Thursday, facing UConn at the Dunkin Donuts Center in a 7:00 pm tip-off (6:45 pre-game on 103.7 FM)…