The Marquette Golden Eagles had an opportunity to win on National Marquette Day. But in the blink of an eye, it went up in smoke.
Maliek White missed two crucial free throws that would’ve put the Providence Friars up as much as four points with three seconds to go. Greg Elliott picked up the rebound and dished it out to star sophomore Markus Howard. But Friars senior Kyron Cartwright picked Howard’s pocket, and that was all she wrote. The Friars celebrated just their second victory at the BMO Harris Bradley Center, earning a 77-75 win over the Golden Eagles.
Cartwright, who bounced back in a big way after a miserable performance against the Seton Hall Pirates, had another steal earlier in the game. But none were more important than the one that came in the final seconds. Kyron also added 15 points, eight rebounds, three assists and just two turnovers in 35 minutes.
Howard, meanwhile, had 16 points, which matched the game-high set by Friars forward Alpha Diallo. But Markus wasn’t his usual self as far as efficiency goes. The usually deft-shooting sophomore was just 4-15 from the field and 1-6 from beyond the 3-point arc. He went 7-8 from the free throw line, but that wasn’t enough to compensate his unusually bad shooting afternoon.
The aforementioned Diallo was pretty terrific. He had 16 points with 6-11 from the free throw line. He had three boards, one assist, a block and a steal with two turnovers in 35 minutes. It was his 17th double figures effort of the season and 10th straight game achieving the mark.
Efficient shooting wasn’t the name of the game. The teams combined to shoot 49-105 (.467) from the field and a meager 7-29 (.241) from beyond the arc. There were 63 (!) free throw attempts in this game, with Providence etching 38 (!!) of them. They converted on 26 of those 38, while Marquette splashed on 21 of their 25.
It has to be frustrating for Marquette at this point. Now at 13-10, the Golden Eagles have lost four in a row, five of their last six, and six of their last eight. This after a 2-1 start to Big East play. At 4-7, they will need a prayer and then some to try and right the ship. Otherwise, things might get a little murkier in Milwaukee.
For Providence, meanwhile, this certainly aids their quest in getting back to the NCAA Tournament. It snuffs their two-game losing streak out and puts them back in the win column. What’s more is that they have the Georgetown Hoyas and DePaul Blue Demons next, which could very easily keep their winning ways going. This all before the Villanova Wildcats come to Friartown on Valentine’s Day.