Marquette’s offense was AWOL on Saturday afternoon as the Marquette Golden Eagles couldn’t muster enough of a challenge to Providence, falling 77-75, thus muting the National Marquette Day festivities.
Marquette’s offense is predicated on shooting a lot — and making a lot -- of three-pointers. This isn’t a secret. However, the Golden Eagles did neither of those things on Saturday afternoon. They attempted 16 three-pointers on the day, well off their season average of 27. After making their first four three-pointers of the game, taking a 22-17 lead with 11:01 left in the first half, Marquette would not hit another three-pointer for the rest of the game.
That’s 12 straight misses over a 31 minute span. That is both nowhere near enough attempts for the Golden Eagles, and quite obviously, nowhere near enough makes.
Part of the problem is that Providence quite simply removed Andrew Rowsey from the equation. The redshirt senior was held to just one three-point attempt in 24 minutes of action (he missed, by the way) before he fouled out with over six minutes to play. He contributed just two made buckets, both in the second half, and in general, he just wasn’t his regular self. Marquette still has shooters who should be able to knock down shots, but their effectiveness at getting open starts drifting downwards when they don’t have the Virginia native operating at peak levels, or, as it turns out, even operating at all.
If the shooting was Marquette’s only problem, then maybe they still win. The defense was actually good enough to win if the offense was up to its usual performance levels. Unfortunately, the shooting issue was drawn into more drastic relief by Marquette’s inability to hold onto the ball. Right down to the final possession of the game, MU was unable to maintain possession of the ball according to their usual standards, committing 14 turnovers. It plagued them at the end of both halves, which may have been the ultimate issue. Marquette had the ball with just seconds left at the end of both frames, but horrible turnovers left them with no points in important situations. At the end of the first half, a Sacar Anim pass went off of Sam Hauser’s hands and head awkwardly and went out of bounds, leaving MU with only a one point margin at the break. The game ended when Markus Howard lost the ball on the sideline after Maliek White had missed two free throws with six seconds left. All Marquette had to do was get the ball in the air to tie or win, and they couldn’t even get it past the Providence three-point line.
With the loss, Marquette drops to 4-7 in Big East play with seven games remaining. Their margin for error has essentially been eliminated at this point, and depending on how the final seven contests go, the Golden Eagles may end up needing Big East tournament wins, massive outside help, or both if they want to make the NCAA tournament for a second straight season.
Up Next: Marquette is off until Wednesday, when they’ll head out to the East Coast for a two game set. First up is Seton Hall at The Rock in the mid-week game, and MU will follow that up with a Saturday date against St. John’s.