Five different scorers were in double figures in Marquette’s first home win in Big East play. Dawson Garcia led all scorers with a career-high 20 points in the 79-69 win for the Golden Eagles over visiting Providence on Tuesday night.
Garcia started the game hot, scoring the first seven for the Golden Eagles. Justin Lewis added an early layup, and Marquette opened the game on a 9-2 run over the first 4:02.
The Friars would answer. Two three-pointers each from A.J. Reeves and David Duke and a layup from Ed Croswell, playing for the injured Nate Watson, had Providence on a 14-8 run. The Friars were down by just one, 17-16, at the halfway mark of the first half.
The Golden Eagles would control the rest of the half, answering Providence with a 15-0 run and outscoring the Friars 21-13 over the final ten minutes. Marquette went 7-13 from the field without turning the ball over. Providence, meanwhile, hit just 4 of 11 shots with 2 turnovers. Marquette led by as many as 16, but a 6-0 run by the Friars to finish the half cut the lead to 9.
Down 38-29 at the break, Providence needed a spark. Nate Watson, playing through injury, provided it. His 6 straight points to start the half mirrored Garcia’s start to the game, and they led the Friars on a 9-4 run.
The final fifteen minutes would feature Ed Cooley playing catch-up while Wojo played keep-away. With 9:54 left, the Friars managed to cut the deficit to two after a Nate Watson layup. D.J. Carton’s basket and two free throws from Koby McEwen stretched the lead back to six. Two free throws from David Duke and a three-pointer from Noah Horchler had Providence back within one with 7:48 to play. A 9-2 run with 5 points from Justin Lewis answered that and put Marquette up 66-58 with 5:02 remaining. This was answered by 6 quick Providence points, and the Friars cut the deficit to two again. That would be as close as it would get.
Marquette took control over the final minutes, ending the game on a 13-5 run to put Providence away. Dawson Garcia’s two offensive rebounds on missed Marquette free throws late ended any last chance for the Friars to finish the comeback. The ending was not without controversy, however. David Duke’s layup attempt with 2:00 remaining was marked as a block by scorers, but replays clearly showed a goaltending call on Theo John was missed.
The ball hit the glass before being contacted by Marquette’s big man. With the correct call, Duke’s layup would have closed the score to 71-66. This was the second missed goaltending call against Marquette, with the first happening earlier in the second half on a Greg Gantt shot. He was fouled on the play and hit both free throws.
After giving up an 18-point lead to UConn in their last game at Fiserv Forum, the Golden Eagles made the plays needed to seal the win and hold off Providence. Marquette dominated in the paint, out-rebounding the Friars 39-30 with 13 offensive rebounds and 36 points in the paint.
The Friars dropped their third straight game, playing most of that stretch without Jared Bynum. After losing in heartbreaking fashion to Xavier barely more than 48 hours before, Providence looked tired and sluggish in the first half. Nate Watson and A.J. Reeves both suffered injuries during this one, but both played through them. Watson had 18 points, a team high, with David Duke, A.J. Reeves, and Jimmy Nichols also in double-figures.