Friars snap Golden Eagles seven-game winning streak

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Photo by Alex DeBuhr

Marquette men’s basketball in a huddle during its 75-64 win over then-No. 20 Xavier Jan. 23.

Coming off their sixth-straight win Wednesday night at Seton Hall, Marquette traveled to the Ocean State to battle BIG EAST foe No. 17 Providence.  And despite a Nor’easter delaying the game a day, the Friars defeated the Golden Eagles 65-63.

It is the first loss since Jan. 1 for Marquette, ending its seven-game winning streak.

The contest was tight throughout the opening minutes but Marquette held a 10-7 lead into the under-16 media timeout after hitting four of its first six shots.

Both teams would then go on shooting slumps over the next few minutes as their defenses took charge.

The Golden Eagles took a 19-11 lead at the 7:39 mark after graduate student guard Darryl Morsell stripped the ball from Alyn Breed leading to a layup from redshirt first-year forward Olivier-Maxence Prosper.

Then Providence went on a 7-2 run to inch closer and trim the Marquette lead to 21-18.

Redshirt first-year forward Justin Lewis made his first basket from the field at the 2:48 mark of the first half. Lewis previously was 0-for-6 from the field.

Lewis added another basket in the winding seconds of the half to give Marquette a 29-23 lead at halftime.

On offense, Marquette shot 40.6% from the field in the first 20 minutes while Providence shot just 33.3%.

Marquette rolled its strong first half offense into the second, increasing its lead to 33-26 after hitting its first two baskets of the half forcing Providence head coach Ed Cooley to burn an early timeout.

Coming out of the timeout, the Friars found its offense as they cut the deficit to 37-33 at the under-16 media timeout. Meanwhile, the Golden Eagles were held scoreless for two minutes during this run.

The Friars got within one at 40-39 after senior forward Ed Croswell put the offensive rebound back in, forcing Marquette head coach Shaka Smart to call a timeout.

On its next possession, Providence graduate student guard Al Durham hit a 3-pointer to tie the game at 42-42.

Durham would then give Providence its first lead since the 17:56 mark of the first half on a layup with 4:35 left to go in regulation at 55-54.

Morsell then answers with a jumper to put the Golden Eagles back up. The next two minutes led to four lead changes with both teams exchanging buckets.

Providence fouled Lewis with 57 seconds left, sending him to the line for free-throws. He converted on both to put Marquette up 62-61.

Friars center graduate student Nate Watson then grabbed an offensive rebound and was fouled while going up. He made the free-throw for a 64-62 lead.

After Providence graduate student forward Noah Horchler went 1-for-2 at the charity stripe, Smart called his final timeout with 14.8 seconds left.

The Friars defense forced Kolek into a contested jumper that missed.

Lewis then had an opportunity to put the rebound back in but it did not fall, moving the Friars to 13-0 at home this season.

It is the first time this season Marquette has lost a game after leading at halftime. Smart’s squad previously was 12-0 when leading at the break.

The Golden Eagles were outscored by the Friars 22-1 on second chance opportunities.

Morsell led the way for Marquette on the afternoon with 14 points, six steals, five rebounds and five assists.

Kolek, the Cumberland, Rhode Island, hometown native, finished with 13 points on 5-for-10 shooting from the field with six rebounds and a steal. It is the first time this season he did not record an assist on the afternoon.

Lewis added 13 points, six rebounds and two steals.

Watson led Providence with 17 points on 7-for-10 shooting along with six rebounds and a steal.

Providence committed 13 turnovers, with Marquette scoring 10 points off of those.

The Friars out-rebounded the Golden Eagles 40-31, including getting 14 offensive boards compared to Marquette’s seven.

Sunday afternoon was the 34th matchup between the two programs of all-time. With the loss, Marquette leads the all-time record 21-13.

The Golden Eagles now sit fourth in the BIG EAST behind Providence, Villanova and UConn.

Marquette (15-7, 7-4 BIG EAST) does not have much time to dwell on the loss, as they are set to host No. 14 Villanova Wednesday night at Fiserv Forum. That game is scheduled for a 9 p.m. CST tip-off on FS1.

This article was written by John Leuzzi. He can be reached at john.leuzzi@marquette.edu or on Twitter @JohnLeuzziMU.