The St. John’s Red Storm are 2-0 vs. the Marquette Golden Eagles this season. The Providence Friars are 2-0 vs. St. John’s this season. So naturally, the Golden Eagles moved to 2-0 vs. the Friars on the season on Saturday.
Defense was the story of the first half. Providence’s attention and effort on Howard, combined with his hip injury, limited to the Big East’s leading scorer to just two points in the first half. The Friars’ defensive effort forced 10 turnovers, but they couldn’t take advantage, only scoring six points off those turnovers. The Friars’ cold shooting (27.6%) limited them to just 20 points in the half. Sacar Anim picked up the slack for Marquette, meanwhile. He had 12 points in the first including a highlight reel dunk, helping to lead Marquette to a comfortable 31-20 lead at the break.
After shooting 2-for-9 (22.2%) in the first half, Marquette got hot from deep in the second, going 8-for-12 (66.7%). While Howard still struggled to get going, the Hauser brothers (Sam Hauser, Joey Hauser) combined to shoot 6-for-7 from long range. While the Providence crowd seemed ready to be part of the game with hope their team could pull off the upset, they never got their chance. Their team could never get into any offensive rhythm. MU kept their composure on the road, pulling away to finish off PC, 76-58.
Howard struggled from the field. He was only able to make two field goals on 12 attempts, but was able to finish with 14 points by going 8-for-8 from the FT line. Sam Hauser and Anim both finished with 18 points while Sam also led the team with 13 rebounds. Joey Hauser and Ed Morrow both scored in double figures, adding 15 and 11 respectively.
While he didn’t have his usual offensive performance, Markus never seemed to force his scoring. He was often able to draw enough attention for his teammates to have open shots. The Golden Eagles shot better in the second half, but they were also able to limit their turnovers. After 10 in the first half, they only turned the ball over 4 times in the second.
Nate Watson had been strong offensively, averaging 18 points in his last four games. He struggled against Marquette’s big men, as he was only able to score 10 points. Alpha Diallo led the Friars with 19 while A.J. Reeves also added 13.
The Friars couldn’t shoot from anywhere. Any game will be tough to win when you shoot 16-for-37 (43%) from 2, 6-for-20 (30%) from 3, and 8-for-16 (50%) from the free throw line. They didn’t shoot well in their first matchup against Marquette, but they stayed in the game by dominating the glass 43-31 including 15 offensive rebounds. They couldn’t match that performance in the second matchup, as they were dominated on the boards 41-26.
With the win, Marquette (23-4, 12-2) maintains sole possession of first in the Big East. This could’ve been an easy game for the Golden Eagles to overlook as they head to Finneran Pavilion to play the Villanova Wildcats on Wednesday.
Providence (15-13, 5-10) falls to last place in the conference, meanwhile. Still only 2.5 games back of third in the Big East, they have three games left to improve their standing. Their next opportunity comes Tuesday in Indy against the Butler Bulldogs.