Well, the good news is that this recap is not just “Marquette blew a 16 point lead and lost at home exactly one week after blowing an 18 point and losing at home.”
Came real close, though!
Powered by a “he was great and believe it or not, it could have actually been way better” 20 point and six rebound effort from Dawson Garcia, Marquette picked up a 79-69 victory over Providence on Tuesday night. The Golden Eagles are now 7-6 on the season, deftly avoiding falling under .500, and move to 3-4 in Big East action through seven games.
The aforementioned 16 point lead came with a little less than four minutes left in the first half. A dunk from Justin Lewis put the Golden Eagles up 34-18, and it was ever so slightly starting to look like Marquette was putting the pieces together. Providence would close the half on an 11-4 run as MU didn’t even score at all in the final 101 seconds. Thus, it was only nine points, 38-29, at the break.
Not great, but not the worst thing, either.
The first possession of the second half was a layup by Koby McEwen to push the lead back to double digits... but that didn’t steady the ship as much as you’d like. Nate Watson personally scored the next six points of the game for the Friars, and boom: 40-35 with 18:03 left. Officially worrying.
The game started to settle into a back-and-forth at this point. Watson would cut it to five again with a layup with 12:38 to go, and a pair of freebies by Greg Gantt got it to just three, 49-46. Watson again, just under 10 to play, made it 53-51. Noah Horchler, one of two legitimate three-point threats on the Providence roster, canned a long range bomb with 7:48 to go to make it a 57-56 ball game.
About 16 minutes of game action, and 15 of the 16 points just disappeared into the ether. Providence just kept coming and Marquette just kept letting them take one inch at a time.
A layup by Jamal Cain stemmed the tide, and a HYOOOOGE putback dunk by Lewis puched the margin back to five, 61-56. Lewis would hit a three with just over five minutes left to make it an eight point game again, and it almost seemed for a second that Marquette had figured their deal out.
Nope, Providence immediately scored six straight. The sixth came on an and-1 for Greg Gantt but because of the rules, he had to shoot the freebie after the media timeout.
He missed it.
Theo John kicked out of the post to Jamal Cain for a three, Dawson Garcia drew a foul from Jimmy Nichols and sank both throws, and there you go, seven point game with two minutes left. Marquette still had to make plays down the stretch to ice it, and the two biggest plays were from Garcia. He came up with an offensive rebound after Cain missed two free throws that he baited Gantt into creating, and that second chance turned into an and-1 for D.J. Carton. Under a minute left, it was a seven point game with Koby McEwen headed to the line, and he missed his second try. It was Garcia again, flipping the miss back to McEwen, who would get fouled again and split the pair again. That’s fine, that made it a nine point game with 40 seconds left. Nothing left to do but wait out the clock.
Garcia was great, shooting 7-for-11 from the field and getting four of his six rebounds on the offensive glass. He played 32 minutes, and quite honestly, Marquette could have gone to him a lot more in this game because Providence had no idea what to do with the Minnesota native. He was joined in double digit land by McEwen (17), Carton (13), Cain (12), and Lewis (11). McEwen’s scoring touch wasn’t quite there in this one, but he added eight points and five rebounds plus two steals so he definitely pulled his end of the load.
By the end of 40 minutes, you can’t say it was a great overall defensive performance by Marquette, but you can say that they disrupted David Duke. Providence’s leading scorer shot just 5-for-18 from the field in this game to finish with 17 points. The Friars benefited greatly from two great shooting nights from A.J. Reeves and Jimmy Nichols, neither of whom have shown themselves to be good outside shooters so far this season. They combined to go 6-for-10 from long range, including Nichols hitting all three of his triples. In a game where Providence had to dig out of a hole and their best player didn’t have it, these two guys caused big time problems for Marquette.
Up Next: A trip to the house of horrors that is Carnesecca Arena awaits Marquette. They’ll travel to face St. John’s on Saturday with the Red Storm coming off a 69-57 win over Butler in the front end of Tuesday night’s FS1 doubleheader.