Five takeaways from Marquette’s win over Providence

Photo by Cassie Rogala/[email protected]

Marquette bounced back from a disappointing road loss to DePaul in its conference opener to knock off the Providence Friars 75-66 in its Big East home opener. Here are five takeaways from Saturday’s victory.

The Golden Enigmas 

It’s hard to figure this Marquette team out. The Golden Eagles blew a 13-point lead against a lowly DePaul team in a not-so hostile environment, but bounced back to beat one of the better teams in the Big East this season.

Give Marquette credit for rebounding and protecting home court. Coach Steve Wojciechowski has his Golden Eagles fighting hard in most contests, but the problem has been getting any sort of consistency in the offense.

Sandy Cohen III is the only player who has not led Marquette in scoring in any game this season. That means seven of Marquette’s eight (excluding Deonte Burton and John Dawson, who transferred after the first semester) active players have led the team in scoring at least once. Whether that exemplifies offensive inconsistency or a variety of scorers remains to be seen.

Zone defense confuses Providence 

One thing Providence head coach Ed Cooley noted in his postgame press conference was that Marquette’s 2-3 and 1-3-1 zones frustrated his Friars. Providence was quite sloppy in the first half of action and turned the ball over 11 times in the first half. Providence overcame the sloppiness with a 50 percent shooting performance, but its shooting dropped to 34.3 percent in the second stanza after Marquette switched into the 1-3-1.

Marquette did a great job of keeping most of the Friars in check. LaDontae Henton scored 28 points, including six three-pointers, but the only other Friar in double figures was Kris Dunn, who had 11 points.

Cohen sparks Marquette in first half 

Sandy Cohen III provided a jolt for the Golden Eagles in the first half. All 12 of his points came in the first half and they were timely buckets.

Cohen hit two consecutive threes within a minute of each other. The first got Marquette within two points at the 15:17 mark and the second pulled Marquette within one point at 14:24. His next six points helped Marquette retain the lead in the closing minutes of the half.

Cohen was so important on Saturday that Wojciechowski confessed he made a mistake in not playing the freshman in Marquette’s loss on New Year’s Eve to Providence.

“Sandy was terrific,” Wojciechowski said. “Without those 12 points in the first half we wouldn’t win the ball game. I made a mistake not playing him in Chicago.”

Do it all Derrick Wilson 

Derrick Wilson has had an impressive four-game stretch. Wilson is averaging 9.7 points on 57 percent shooting, 6.2 rebounds and 3.5 assists in Marquette’s last four outings. The point guard has turned the ball over only four times during that stretch. It may not be gaudy, but Wilson is playing the most productive and efficient basketball of his Marquette career.

Big East home cookin’ 

The early storyline not just for Marquette, but for the entire Big East has been home court advantage in the early stages of conference play. The conference is 8-0 at home with an average winning margin of nine points. Both coaches emphasized how difficult it is to earn a win away from home and that could be a storyline to keep an eye on as conference play resumes. Road wins will be pivotal, not only for conference standing, but for NCAA Tournament possibilities.