No. 16 Providence looks to extend its winning streak to nine games Tuesday night when the Friars travel to Milwaukee for a meeting with Marquette.
The Friars (13-1, 3-0 Big East) are averaging 69.5 points over the past eight games while holding opponents to an average of 59.1.
Providence is coming off a 70-53 win over DePaul on Saturday. Aljami Durham led the way with 17 points, while Justin Minaya added 12 points and 11 rebounds and Jared Bynum had 12 points off the bench.
Coach Ed Cooley’s team also had its best performance from 3-point range on the season, going 8-for-15 (53.3 percent) from beyond the arc.
“I think we kind of pride ourselves on being one of the more physical teams in the Big East, so I think jumping out to get that early lead really did set the tone of the game,” Minaya said. “That physicality really allowed us to be great on the defensive side of the ball.”
Defense has played a key role in Providence’s success, as the Friars have held opponents under 40 percent from the field in eight of 14 games this season.
The offense has also been extremely balanced. Four players have double-figure scoring averages, with Nate Watson pacing the team with 13.9 points per game.
Marquette (8-6, 0-3) finds itself in the midst of a four-game losing streak after falling 75-69 to Creighton on Saturday in a double-overtime thriller. The Golden Eagles fought back from a 17-point deficit, but ultimately came up short.
Reserve Oso Ighodaro had a career-high 22 points on 10-of-12 shooting. Darryl Morsell chipped in 13 points in his first game back from health and safety protocol, and Tyler Kolek had 11 points, six rebounds and six assists. Justin Lewis contributed nine points and 12 rebounds despite going just 4-for-18 from the field.
“Heck of a comeback by our guys. Really want to credit our group that came off the bench in the second half,” Marquette coach Shaka Smart said. “I thought those guys came in and gave us some real spirit and energy and then I thought when the starters went back in, they played with much better fight.”
The Golden Eagles have dropped their last three home games and have shot 39.6 percent in those games. Their last home win came on Nov. 30 against Jackson State.
Kam Jones is in health and safety protocol and is questionable for Tuesday’s matchup. Despite being one of the youngest players on the team, the freshman is averaging the third-most points on the team with 7.7 and had played at least 20 minutes in five of his last six games before entering the protocol.
The last time these teams met, Providence came away with a 72-63 overtime win. Although they have taken three of the last four games against the Golden Eagles, the Friars are 12-20 in the all-time series.
–Field Level Media