Providence, R.I.—Marquette fans have been waiting for redshirt sophomore Jamil Wilson to start to live up to his potential, and the hype that he had surrounding him prior to the season.
Wilson did that, and then some, leading the Golden Eagles to a 79-72 victory over the Providence Friars on Saturday night at the Dunkin Donuts Center. The transfer from Oregon scored 16 points, grabbed seven rebounds, and blocked three shots (all career highs).
After trailing by two at the break, the second half was looking like a stalemate for the first eight minutes, with the score tied at 57.
At that point, Marquette and Wilson took over.
Wilson scored nine straight points for Marquette, and the Golden Eagles carried a 66-60 at the 8-minute media timeout.
After that, Providence went scoreless for 4:35, during which sophomore forward Davante Gardner scored five consecutive points, giving the Golden Eagles an 11-point lead.
A three-point shot by Crowder with 2:36 left in the game gave Marquette their largest lead of the game at 74-62, and doomed the Friars.
Buzz Williams thought that was when Wilson's ability shone, because of his versatility on the defensive end.
"Particularly when DJ (Johnson-Odom) picked up his fourth," Williams explained. "We had to play with Jae at the 3, and now we're playing big when we can, and then subbing Juan for Davante, offense for defense, and a lot of that is because of Jamil's ability to guard multiple positions."
In addition to Wilson, Marquette's three freshmen played key roles off the bench.
Todd Mayo scored 10 points, including 7 in the first half, while Juan Anderson and Derrick Wilson spelled Gardner and junior guard Junior Cadougan (who dished out 10 assists on the night) on the defensive end, playing roles on a few big stops.
Coach Williams says that those four young players are earning his trust each and every game, which could lead to more minutes for them for the rest of the season.
"Some of those guys are becoming more and more confident in what we're trying to do," said Williams, "which gives me more confidence in them to play meaningful possessions."
Sophomore guard Bryce Cotton, who scored 26 points on 8-of-17 shooting, led Providence.
The Golden Eagles next game is back in Milwaukee on Tuesday night, when they host the South Florida Bulls at the Bradley Center.
Wilson lifts MU to road victory
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