Sloppy ball handling leads to upset at Providence, men’s basketball loses third straight

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Photo by Jordan Johnson

Markus Howard (0) dribbles in Marquette's 73-65 loss to Creighton Tuesday.

Following the team’s second loss of the season at Fiserv Forum Tuesday, No. 19 Marquette headed to Rhode Island Saturday to face the Providence Friars and the Golden Eagles received their third consecutive loss in an 84-72 decision at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center.

Marquette struggled shooting out of the gate, scoring the first four points off free throws from Markus Howard and Theo John. Those shooting woes didn’t dissipate for the remainder of the first half as Providence led 19-8 by the 11:07 mark.

With a layup from John with 7:22 remaining until half, the Golden Eagles had cut the lead to eight points. However, Providence would go on an 8-2 run to distance themselves with six minutes to go until the break. Consecutive 3-pointers from Greg Elliott and Jamal Cain on MU possessions helped bring the Golden Eagles within 11 points.

With five seconds left in the half, Howard drained a 3-pointer, but the Friars still went into halftime up 43-29. Providence shot 55% in the first half and were 8-for-15 from beyond the arc. Marquette could not hold onto the ball in the first, racking up 10 turnovers while also shooting 9-for-24 from the floor and 36% from 3-point range.

Coming out of the break, the Golden Eagles went on a 4-0 run, which put them down 43-33. However, the Friars’ offense would respond and go on a run of their own and with 15:18 remaining in the game held a 14-point lead.

MU never cut the deficit below nine points and the Golden Eagles committed seven fouls by the 12:18 mark.

For Providence, David Duke and Kalif Young fouled out, compared to just Cain for Marquette.

Despite Howard’s 19-point performance in the final five minutes to cut Providence’s lead to 12, his heroics weren’t enough as No. 19 Marquette fell 84-72 to an unranked Friars team.

The Golden Eagles shot better in the second at 44% but struggled from downtown making 2-for-9 3-pointers. But it was MU’s 18 turnovers which resulted in 18 points for Providence. MU could not defend either, allowing the Friars to score 38 points in the paint and 17 on the fast break.

Both teams frequently traveled to the charity stripe. Marquette was 26-for-30 and Providence went 20-for-27 from the line.

Howard scored a game-high 38 points on 10-for-25 shooting with 26 points coming in the second half. This is the 11th time this season he has reached over 30 points. The nation’s leading scorer was 15-for-17 from the free-throw line but shot a mere 3-for-9 from beyond the arc. Howard also contributed four rebounds and three steals.

Elliott was the only other Golden Eagle to reach double-digit scoring with 10 points on 3-for-6 shooting. John finished with a team-high six rebounds.

The Friars had six players score in double-digits and totaled 16 assists. Luwane Pipkins led Providence with 24 points on 9-for-14 shooting, went 3-for-8 from beyond the arc and possessed a team-high four steals. He also added four rebounds and three assists. Nate Watson recorded a team-high five rebounds.

With this loss, MU is now tied with Butler for fifth place in the conference standings.

Marquette (17-9, 7-7 BIG EAST) returns to Fiserv Forum for a 7:30 p.m. matchup with the Georgetown Hoyas Wednesday.

This story was written by Zoe Comerford. She can be reached at isabel.ccomerford@marquette.edu or on Twitter @zoe_comerford.