For the third straight time in Big East play, a well-balanced attack helped Marquette do just that, pounding Providence, 86-62, Sunday afternoon in Milwaukee. MU was paced by double doubles from Junior Cadougan and Jae Crowder, and was led in scoring once again by Darius Johnson-Odom with 17 points.
At 18-11 overall and 9-7 in Big East play, the Golden Eagles moved even closer to their 6th straight NCAA appearance, likely needing at least one more win in their remaining two games at home against Cincinnati and at Seton Hall.
Sr F Jimmy Butler jams in 2 of his 15pts.
"I just think that's how fragile all of this is," said Williams of his NCAA chances. "I said it at the beginning of the year, there will be five teams that will be tied at the end of the season and some of them might not go to the post season. We are thankful we won three in a row."
Marquette started hot, jumping on Providence with a 10-0 run to start the game highlighted by several easy layups and a monster put back dunk by Otule to force a quick timeout by the Friars. While Providence cut the lead to 12-10 shortly after, Marquette was able to balloon the lead to 13 by half and used a 24-14 run to start the second half to put the game out of reach.
Chris Otule grabs one of his 6 rebs to go along with his 16 pts and 4 Blocks.
Key to the MU effort was holding Providence's Marshon Brooks to just 17 points. The senior guard is second in the nation in scoring at 25.4 points per game and recently dropped a Big East record 52 points on Notre Dame this past Wednesday.
"Even Marshon Brooks told me after the game, ‘that was the best scheme anyone has played against me all year.'" Williams said. "I thought collectively we did a good job."
"They did a good job of being very physical, of bumping and banging (Brooks)," said Friars coach Keno Davis, who received a technical foul during the game. "I credit (Marquette) with a great game plan. Marshon only getting four free throws is something we don't see very often. "
The Friars (14-15, 3-13) dropped their sixth straight game. In doing so, they have allowed each of their opponents to score at least 75 points. The story was similar again at the Bradley Center, this time, allowing Marquette to shoot 52.5 percent for the game.
DJ-O is A-0K after lay in and hard fall on his back.
"We gave up 26 points in the fast break," said Davis. "That is not the best transition defense. There are a lot of things we need to work on with the 11 freshmen on our team."
Cadougan played his best game of his young career filling the stat sheet with 10 points, 10 assists and a tough six rebounds. After battling through an injury filled freshmen season, Cadougan is finally earning the trust of his coach as his floor leader.
"Buzz is easy to play for," said Cadougan. "If you play hard and if you play defense he loves that. As long as you are playing hard, you will play."
Junior Cadougan has his first career double double with 10pts and 10 assts.
Added Williams of Cadougan, "I don't think you can quantify his progression. Our guys want to play with Junior because he makes the game easier for them."
Marquette plays their final home game on Wednesday against Cincinnati – another bubble NCAA team who could use a quality road win against Marquette. As for the Golden Eagles, a few more "just wins" will equal an "IN" for the NCAA tournament. If MU can notch that senior night win, at least one Big East coach predicts the Golden Eagles will be a dangerous out.
"We knew after their big win at UConn we were not getting them at the right time," said Davis. "I can see why Marquette will be one of those teams that some people will predict to go a long way."