Saturday, January 28, 2017

Providence 79, Marquette 78: PC escapes and wins for the first time at Marquette

                                                         Photo Credit: AP Photo

MILWAUKEE— Desperate men, do desperate things  and in need of a conference win, the Providence Friars (14-9, 4-6 Big East) ended a two-game skid with a 79-78 win over the Marquette Golden Eagles (14-7, 5-4 Big East) at the BMO Harris Bradley Center.

After a timeout at half court and a blocked shot with 6.5 seconds left, Haanif Cheatham inbounded to Katin Reinhardt on the wing, but with Rodney Bullock all over, he could not get off a clean shot as the ball rattled off the rim and Emmitt Holt secured the rebound for Providence's first win ever at Marquette.

"We have played against [Katin] before and scouted him, but you still have to stop him," Providence coach Ed Cooley said. "He is a threat all over the floor coming off the bounce and shooting the three and has a really high IQ."

Marquette coach Steve Wojciechowski explained how the play was originally diagramed for Reinhardt.

"We tried to get Katin to run off a stagger screen with the second big as the center being the second screener because they were trying to get him on the big guy and drive the ball inside the basket," Wojciechowski said.

Providence’s balanced scoring appeared on full display as four players finished in double figures, highlighted by Kyron Cartwright’s 18 points, six rebounds and game-high six assists.

"[Kyron] is really good, he makes the guys so much better around him," Wojciechowski said. "Our defense became spread out as a result. He's one of the more underrated guards in the Big East."

The MU crowd went into a frenzy after Reinhardt’s putback layup, but Cartwright silenced the fans with a conventional three-point play, which drew Luke Fischer’s fifth and final foul.

Cartwright’s presence was felt once more after a Rowsey missed jumper as he came down on the other end and delivered a clutch triple from the wing to put PC up 77-70 and led the rest of the way.

Early foul trouble limited Providence’s leading scorer Rodney Bullock to 24 minutes as he finished with eight points. Bullock’s first points of the game did not come until the 17:20 mark of the second half.

Marquette's Andrew Rowsey finished with a game-high 23 points, on 5-of-8 shooting, highlighted by a four-point play to pull to 78-76 with 36 seconds left. Wojciechowski admitted to Rowsey's long-range makes keeping MU close, but hopes to avoid the scenario becoming the norm.

"[Andrew] almost bailed us out," Wojciechowski said. "Again, you hope you don't have to rely on four-point plays to bail us out."

The first 4:17 of the game proved to be a struggle for both teams to make quality shots as they went a combined 4-of-14 from the field, to go along with an 0-for-3 mark from the free throw line.

Bullock committed two early fouls, which put the Friars on their heels, but responded by going on a 7-0 run over 2:43.

The Golden Eagles’ bread and butter all season was a conference-high 41.9 percent three-point shooting coming into the game against the Friars, but missed six of their first eight attempts and faced a 20-13 deficit in the process with 7:11 left in the opening half. 

Despite Marquette pulling to as close as two, Providence maintained its lead with an 11-1 run to go up by 12. Marquette’s long-range shooting came alive at its most critical stage with makes from Reinhardt and Sam Hauser as it went into the half down 40-32 after a fadeaway jumper from Maliek White with a second left.

Bullock and Holt committed their third fouls within an 89 second stretch to begin the second half, but remained on the floor as Marquette cut its deficit to 42-37. Bullock responded with his first points of the game on a conventional three-point play.

Marquette would respond with a 9-0 run over 2:54 to take its first lead since the 12:58 mark in the first half. Hauser highlighted the run with an open layup in the paint delivered by a precision pass from Jajuan Johnson.

With every Golden Eagles answer came a Friars one in response as they made five straight field goals to retake the lead at 56-51.

Both teams slugged it out as the second half progressed with leads going back and forth with PC escaping with the one-point win.

Looking Ahead:

Both teams return to action on Feb. 1 as the Golden Eagles look to build their winning streak to four games as they travel to Madison Square Garden to take on the St. John’s Red Storm, while the Friars host the top-ranked Villanova Wildcats. Both games tip off at 6 p.m.

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Follow Geno Green on Twitter @TheGenoGreen.