I went in to Tuesday night’s Marquette basketball game thinking, “I dunno, maybe if they get their heads right after Saturday’s awful double overtime loss to Creighton, maybe they can make this interesting against #16 Providence.”
Well, I was right. Marquette made it interesting.
Powered by a game high 23 points from Justin Lewis, YOUR Marquette Golden Eagles stomped out the #16 ranked Friars and won, 88-56. That is not a typo, they defeated a team ranked in the Associated Press top 25 by 32 points. It is the largest margin of victory against a ranked opponent in program history, topping 29 points against #22 Santa Clara in 1995 and #9 Michigan in 1972.
It was clear from the jump that Marquette wanted to prove something tonight against Providence. They recorded their first kill — three consecutive defensive stops — on Providence’s first three possessions of the game, and they went straight at the rim on their end to go up 6-0 right away. The Golden Eagles, as a result, never trailed in this game.
But Providence got to be #16 in the country for a reason. They started getting some buckets, and we had ourselves a basketball game for a while.
And then Justin Lewis dunked.
That kicked off a 7-0 run by Lewis alone that Darryl Morsell extended to 12-0 with five points of his own. 20-6. Looking pretty good, huh?
But again, PC was ranked for a reason. They made a few more plays, and a layup from Alyn Breed made it 22-18 favoring the home team.
That layup from Breed came with 7:49 left to go in the first half. Providence’s next points came by way of two free throws from Al Durham with 38 seconds left. Over seven minutes without a single point and nearly eight minutes without a field goal. Over on Marquette’s end of the court? TWENTY STRAIGHT POINTS for the Golden Eagles to take a 42-18 lead, capped by two free throws fro Oso Ighodaro.
Brycen Goodine’s bucket right before the horn made it 42-22 at the half. That would be the closest that Providence got the entire second half. I mean, okay, technically, Nate Watson had two buckets in the first 90 seconds that cut MU’s lead to 20 in both cases. A layup from Olivier-Maxence Prosper, a free throw from Kur Kuath, and a step back from Lewis all combined to make the lead 25 points, 51-26, and Marquette spent the rest of the game, all 17:29 to go, trying to see how far ahead they could get.
The answer, as it turns out, was 37 points. That came at the 2:04 mark of the second half, 88-51, on a dunk from Ighodaro.
If you could have scripted a bounce back performance for Marquette to follow up Saturday’s double OT loss to Creighton, this is what you would have scripted. The fact that it came against the #16 team in the country, a team that had lost just once so far this season, a team that was 3-0 in Big East play..... well, that’s just icing on the cake.
As mentioned earlier, Lewis led Marquette with 23 points, getting there on 7-for-16 shooting including making two of his four attempts from long range as well as all seven of his free throws. He also added 11 rebounds for a double-double, plus two assists and a steal. OMax Prosper (11), Kam Jones (14), and Oso Ighodaro (16) all joined Lewis in double digit territory in points. Tyler Kolek had a game high nine assists, while chipping in a made three plus three rebounds and two steals.
Kur Kuath had SEVEN BLOCKS to move himself quite dramatically into fifth place all time amongst Marquette seniors.
Can I interest you in some Championship Blue highlights, courtesy of GoMarquette.com and Fox Sports?
Up Next: Marquette is now 1-3 in Big East play, and their first opportunity to show that this one wasn’t a fluke comes on Friday night. The Golden Eagles will be in Washington, D.C., to take on Georgetown. The Hoyas are a hot mess this season at 6-5 overall. They haven’t played a game since December 18th and Friday will be their Big East opener.