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Providence defeats Marquette for first 3-0 Big East start since 2009

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The Friars have been the conference’s shocking team in the first two weeks.

DePaul Blue Demons v Providence Friars Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images

There’s something about Providence vs. Marquette games in Milwaukee that truly bring out the weirdest results. Remember the bat? Remember when Ben Bentil scored a career-high 42 and the Friars still lost?

It’s only fitting that Tuesday’s 81-80 OT win for Providence was equally weird. For starters, it marked the fourth straight victory for the Friars, all of which have come over KenPom top 70 teams. It also gives Providence their first 3-0 Big East start under Ed Cooley, following a nonconference slate that was none too kind to the Friars.

The Friars actually led for most of the game (30 of the contest’s 45 minutes, while being tied for another five minutes), and continued to look like a much different team than the one that took a series of inexplicable losses in late November.

After a dominant first half by the Friars, Marquette opened the second half with a bang and jumped out to a six point lead, but Providence quickly erased it and got the upper hand back, erasing the deficit over five minutes. With about three minutes left, though, Marquette jumped back on top, and when Brendan Bailey knocked down a pair of free throws with 18 seconds left to put Marquette up by three, the game looked all but over. All the Golden Eagles had to do was foul.

They did not. Instead, Providence found AJ Reeves for a game-tying three with four seconds to play to force overtime. Reeves and Bailey would play big roles in overtime, as well. Once Reeves hit a three to put the Friars up by three with a minute to play, Bailey answered with one of his own. After a Kalif Young layup and Luwane Pipkins free throw put Providence up three with 12 seconds to play, the game looked all but over. All the Friars had to do was foul.

They did, technically. As Bailey was going up for a three-pointer, he drew contact and had a chance to tie the game from the free throw line. After making his first two shots to go to 5-5 from the free-throw line on the evening, Bailey missed the third and Providence got the rebound. Maliek White missed two free throws at the other end, but it didn’t matter at that point. Marquette was out of timeouts and their heave didn’t even make it past half court.

The Friars had an incredible group scoring effort in the win. White led the way with 19 points, but four other Friars also found themselves in double-digits. Nate Watson had 13, David Duke and Alpha Diallo both had 12 (in addition to a game-high 11 rebounds for Diallo) and Reeves had 10, six of which came on the aforementioned big three-pointers.

Markus Howard finished with one of the quietest 39 point games you’ll ever see for Marquette, and Bailey added a solid 19 point effort, but that was basically it for Marquette.

As noted, the Friars are now 3-0 in Big East play and 10-6 on the season. They’ll host #6 ranked Butler on Friday. Marquette falls to 1-2 in Big East play and 11-4 on the year, with a road game against Seton Hall looming this weekend.