Marquette Cruises Past The Friars

The Providence Friars needed a lot to go right to upset #10 Marquette . Unfortunately, only a couple of first half scoring spurts aided that cause, as PC faced a Marquette buzz saw in the second half and was manhandled 96-67 at the Bradley Center . PC will need to bounce back almost immediately as they face a surging Depaul team on Saturday.

Without any real semblance of point guard play to handle the Marquette pressure, Providence had to rely on a variety to players to try and run the offense. While this ‘point guard by committee' approach seemed to work against Florida State , it largely imploded versus the tenacious defensive pressure of Marquette .

Providence had eleven first half turnovers, mostly on passes that were either thrown away or deflected for steals in traffic. They were better in that regard in the 2nd half, but the Friars still never were comfortable running their offense and struggled to score most of the night. When PC forced steals, (J. Xavier 6) they got some easy transition offense from the likes of Brian McKenzie (21pts) and Greedy Peterson (10pts). Despite struggling with his outside shot, Jeff Xavier also chipped in 11 points.

Marquette 's offense fired on all cylinders in this one, and the inability of Providence to get stops on defense really led to the game getting out of hand quickly in the second half. Dominic James was special in the one, (21 pts, 6 assists, 0 turnovers) whether it was dishing to Ousmane Barro in traffic or hitting his jump shots, which had always been his weakness.

The Golden Eagles made 10 three pointers in the game, and shot over 50% from the field. To make matters worse, Marquette was outstanding from the free throw line, converting an stellar 22 of 25 attempts. Conversely, Providence performed poorly from the line, shooting only 63% on 27 attempts.

A big disappointment is this game for Providence was the lack of production from Randall Hanke and Weyinme Efujuku, and to a lesser degree, Geoff McDermott, whom PC all needed good games from to win. McDermott only scored 7 points, but to his credit, he didn't get many good looks at the basket playing point guard for significant stretches of the game. He also only had four rebounds, well below his average. He did, however dish out 5 assists and had only 2 turnovers.

It was clear early on that Randall Hanke was a step slow in his reaction time on both ends of the floor against Marquette , and Providence 's inside threat was largely negated with him on the bench for most of the game. Marquette 's defense did an excellent job keeping Weyinme Efujuku out of his comfort zone. Efejuku did play aggressively on offense, but he also made a number of poor decisions and forced a number of ill conceived shots. He also battled foul trouble for most of the game and pulled down only 1 rebound. The Friars as a team were dominated on the glass 37-23.

Overall, the first conference game at Marquette was a disaster, but it's not the first time that Tom Crean's crew has cleaned the floor with a home opponent in a Big East opener. One bright spot for Providence was some productive play from both freshmen Greedy Peterson and Marshon Brooks . If the Friars can regroup and handle adversity better at Depaul than they did against Marquette , they still have an excellent chance to go 1-1 on their Midwest roadtrip.

Providence now has to focus on grabbing a win over the Blue Demons, who just upset #17 Villanova in Chicago . Draelon Burns led Depaul with 20 points. It will be up to the Friar juniors in particular to step up on the road and show the necessary composure, defense, and offensive execution necessary to grab a win against the Depaul at AllState Arena.

Next: @Depaul 1/5/08 Time: 8:00pm EST TV/Radio: ESPN Classic/103.7FM

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