Chart #1: First Half Minutes Distribution
RESULT: Marquette had a 31-14 lead at halftime.
Chart #2: Second Half Minutes Distribution
RESULT: Providence outscored Marquette 34-23 before Providence started fouling to try to extend the game.
Now, Providence had a first half effective field goal percentage of 19.6% in the first half, so was part of the second half just returning to the mean? Sure. But the Friars only had an eFG% of 48.3% in the second half, so they didn't go completely haywire.
Head coach Buzz Williams changed the starting lineup for this game, swapping in Jajuan Johnson and Deonte Burton for Jake Thomas and Davante Gardner. After the game, Buzz told Steve "The Homer" True and Jim McIlvaine that he made the change because the team needed to play with more energy and his player rotations were because guys have been playing too many minutes. And yet, in the second half, after the wide rotation of players paid off for Marquette paid off with great defense and a big lead, everything snapped back to the way it's been all season. Both the offense and defense slipped and Providence came roaring back. Only by hitting their free throws in the final two minutes did Marquette manage to escape with their fourth Big East win of the season.
Jae Crowder Player of the Game: I'm going to be honest with you - I didn't initially make this pick for POTG. But after I finished writing up the Fulce, I realized that the player deserves this award instead. So Derrick Wilson gets this one. I know I half buried him in the earth earlier this week, and that the charts above don't help him, and neither does the game high 20 points scored by Bryce Cotton, Providence's point guard and #1 scoring threat. But DW hit two of his three shots, all three of which were on runners or layups, he grabbed two rebounds, including an offensive rebound that led directly to one of his made baskets, he had eight assists against just one turnover, and had a career high four steals. Let's be honest: That's a great stat line, especially on a night of a lot of lackluster stat lines.
Joe Fulce Undersung Eagle of the Game: The upside of realizing that Derrick deserved the Crowder instead of the Fulce means I can give this one to Deonte Burton. Nine points on 4-8 shooting, he tied Davante Gardner for the team high in rebounds with three on both ends of the court, and he had one assist, all in just 15 minutes. And speaking of that assist...
Davante "Big Smooth" Gardner Smooth Play of the Game: Early in the second half, Deonte Burton ended up with the ball at the rim. I forget how exactly he got there, but that's mostly because of what happened next. Burton realized he was in the air and couldn't get the shot off, so he did the next best thing: dumped it off to the big man closest to him. Here's the catch: that big man was Chris Otule. Last night was Chris Otule's 100th career start and the one thing we've learned about CO in that time is that, probably because of his vision issues, he can't handle quick dish passes by a player cutting to the rim. But this time, he did. Otule handled the dumpoff from Burton with no issues and finished with a Shaquille O'Neal-esque flourish. I literally can not remember Otule ever managing to put a handle on a pass like that, but somehow - SOMEHOW - Bane managed to pull it off.
Up Next: The team is already in New York for tomorrow's Super Bowl Saturday game at Madison Square Garden against St. John's. The Red Storm had a three game winning streak snapped against Creighton on Tuesday night, and now sit at 2-6 in Big East action.