It was a night to quickly move on from for the Marquette Golden Eagles. Credit must be given to a Providence team that played well and established the tone on their home court. Having faced some national tests already this year, this was not how the Marquette Golden Eagles were looking to start Big East play.
Marquette Golden Eagles Slow First Half
The offense just could not get much going outside of Tyler Kolek tonight. The two man game between Kolek and Oso Ighodaro had some success, but overall the Marquette Golden Eagles struggled with the defensive intensity, and team help of the Providence defense.
Having a single point lead with about 12 minutes left to play in the first half, Davonte Gaines hit a three pointer for a lead that Providence never relinquished. Marquette had a cold shooting streak from three. In the first half they went a combined 2 of 9 from beyond the arc, while Providence managed to sink 5 of their last 9 threes. The Marquette Golden Eagles let up a 27-15 run to close out the half, that was too much to overcome and extinguished any hopes of a second half comeback, as they would go on to lose 72-57.
Marquette Golden Eagles Second Half Comeback Attempt
Unable to make effective adjustments out of halftime, it just wasn’t the night for Marquette and was more of the same in the second half. Although there was not a large fouling or free throw disparity, Marquette had some uncharacteristic, inopportune fouls called against them throughout the game. After playing solid defense throughout most of the shot clock, or facing a rushed long three attempt, the Marquette Golden Eagles defenders fouled. While not the biggest difference of the game, some of these fouls occurred at times when it was looking like Marquette may have been able to make a run.
Throughout the game, Marquette struggled with side to side ball movement of Providence. They also did not deal with the physical and tenacious approach of Providence well. With four Providence players reaching double digits, there will be plenty of tape for the Shaka Smart staff to analyze to improve the defensive discipline for their upcoming matchups.
Offensively, the offense runs through Kolek, and some open shots failed to fall, despite getting some good looks. Kam Jones was the only other player to produce an offensive threat, and finished with 13 points. He chipped in with Kolek’s production who finished with 21 points, 9 rebounds, and 5 assists in his homecoming.
Marquette Golden Eagles Quick Turnaround Needed
As we have seen, in arguably the best basketball conference from top to bottom, any team can catch their opponent on an off day to get the victory. There will be plenty to learn from this game. It was especially telling when a calm Shaka Smart pointed out that the ball movement was not where it needed to be at. Both offensively and defensively, there will be plenty to point to in the film breakdown and implement in their next game.