PREVIEW: Marquette looks to prevent back-to-back losses in matchup with Friars

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Redshirt senior guard Koby McEwen (25) and first-year forward Dawson Garcia (33) help up sophomore guard Symir Torrence (10) (Photo courtesy of Marquette Athletics.)

After getting almost an entire week off, the Marquette Golden Eagles will host the Providence Friars at 8 p.m. Central Standard Time Tuesday night.

The Golden Eagles are coming off one of their toughest losses of the season in which they gave up an 18-point lead in the second half against the UConn Huskies, leading to a 65-54 defeat.

They had a week off due to their game against Villanova on Friday getting postponed and moved to a later date. The Wildcats went into quarantine and had to postpone three games due to positive COVID-19 test results.

Providence is coming off two consecutive losses by less than two points. They fell to No. 8 Creighton 67-65 at home and then lost 74-73 to Xavier on the road.

Both of those losses were due to a made shot in the final second of the game. Christian Bishop had a game-winning dunk for Creighton and Xavier’s Colby Jones hit a three with just .1 left on the clock for the Musketeers.

The Friars are currently 7-5 on the season and 3-3 in conference play, positioning them as sixth in the BIG EAST standings. Marquette is just one spot below them at seventh with a 6-6 overall record and 2-4 conference record.

Despite the end result, junior guard David Duke was a bright spot in the Friar’s loss against Xavier. He is Providence’s leading scorer on the season at 20.2 points per game and had 30 against the Musketeers. He is also averaging six rebounds and just under four and a half assists on the year.

The only other Friar averaging double-digit points is the 6-foot-1o senior center Nate Watson. The big man is averaging 18.3 points, 7.6 rebounds and 0.7 blocks per game.

Duke and Watson have combined to score over half (52%) of Providence’s total points. Watson is also now over 1000 points for his career after passing that mark this season.

Marquette’s duo down low of senior forward Theo John and first-year forward Dawson Garcia will look to matchup with Watson in the post. Garcia now leads the Golden Eagles with 13 points and 7.6 rebounds a game, while John leads the team with 1.6 blocks a game.

The Golden Eagles rely on their offensive balance, as they have three other scorers in double digits. Seniors Koby McEwen and Jamal Cain have 12.8 and 10.8 points per game respectively, and sophomore guard D.J. Carton is averaging 11.1 points while leading the team in assists and steals per game.

Providence is 3-1 in their last four games when playing against Marquette in Milwaukee. The Friars won at Fiserv Forum last year by one point in January, but then beat the Golden Eagles by 12 when they played in Rhode Island in February.

In the latter of those two meetings, Providence had six players score in double-digits, not including Watson, who had just four. Only two of those six players, Duke who had 15 and junior guard A.J. Reeves who had 11, are still on the team.

Looking at team statistics, Providence ranks eighth in the conference in points per game, one spot above Marquette. They are last in the conference in 3-point percentage, but sixth in total field-goal percentage at 46%.

Marquette has a 19-11 all-time edge in the series against the Friars, and is 17-8 since joining the BIG EAST in 2005-06. They will look to improve their series advantage and move up a spot in the BIG EAST standings tonight as Providence comes into town trying to prevent a three-game losing streak. The game will be telecasted on FS1.

This story was written by Matt Yeazel. He can be reached at mathew.yeazel@marquette.edu or on Twitter @MJYeazel.