Friars Road Killed at Marquette

Want to know what happens when Marshon Brooks scores less than 20 points and your best defender doesn't play? A whole lot of ugly. Providence traveled to Marquette but should have stayed home as they were pummeled on both sides of the ball falling 86-62.

Marquette came out determined to stop Marshon Brooks, and with the long Jimmy Butler attached to him with help defense shutting down lanes to the basket, the Golden Eagles really kept the Friars Big East Player of the Year Candidate in check with a modest point total of 17 points on 7-16 shooting. Brooks wasn't getting the looks his is accustomed to, and the other Friars simply could not pick up the slack.

"Even Marshon Brooks told me after the game, ‘that was the best scheme anyone has played against me all year.'" Coach Buzz Williams said. "I thought collectively we did a good job."

Providence seems to never play well in certain places like West Virginia, and Marquette and the Bradley Center is also one of those places. The Friars have not beaten Marquette on their home court since they joined the Big East, and Sunday was no different. Maybe it is the physical and athletic nature of Marquette's team that wears out a Friar squad that too often lack the requisite toughness it takes to win in the Big East. Of course, Providence also hasn't won a true road game all year, so a loss was not a surprise. Perhaps the surprise was how easily Marquette manhandled Providence.

When you shoot 31% and allow the opposition to shoot over 52%, you're going to have problems. Just for good measure, throw in getting out rebounded 48-33 and you have an old fashioned horse whipping. Providence was never in this game other than a brief spurt in the second half where some forced turnovers from the Friar press allowed Providence to make a mini run at Marquette. The only Friar besides Brooks who had a solid game was freshman Gerard Coleman, who finally shook his personal road jinx and recorded 16 points, three steals, and only one turnover. That was the biggest bright spot in an otherwise miserable game.

The half court and transition defense for the Friars was extremely poor in this game, among the team's worst of the year. Big East steals leader Duke Mondy was suspended for the game as a coaching decision, and the rest of the team showed little defensive resistance in his absence.

"We gave up 26 points in the fast break," said Keno 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."

It's hard to feel like Keno Davis' third season has been a big improvement over last year's disappointing campaign. The Friars have now lost their sixth straight game and have crossed the Mendoza line of basketball with a losing record at (14-15, 3-13) in the Big East. Opposing teams have now waltzed to at least 75 points over those six games.

As fans have heard all season long, this Friar team was supposed to be getting better as the year went on since youth eventually does gain experience. While that may have been the case to some degree through their last win against South Florida, multiple off court distractions combined with deteriorating defense and inconsistent scoring from players outside of Marshon Brooks' have just about derailed the Friars chance to finish anywhere outside of the bottom three in the Big East.

With the Friars facing a looming revenge game at streaking Louisville on Wednesday, things don't look promising for a chance at redemption from the Marquette loss. Senior Day for Marshon Brooks and Ray Hall will be Providence's best chance for gaining some positive momentum going into the Big East tournament.

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