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Marquette Basketball: Golden Eagles get even with win over Providence

Marquette lost their Big East Opener to Providence back in December, but got even on Wednesday night back at Fiserv Forum

Providence v Marquette
Providence v Marquette / Patrick McDermott/GettyImages
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Marquette met Providence out in Rhode Island to open up Big East Conference play back in December, where they were sent home with a 15-point loss. Without having guard Stevie Mitchell available due to injury, the offense shot a stagnant 32% on their way to only 57 points and an 0-1 record in the Big East. Two-plus months of Big East play can change things, and Marquette evened the season series with Providence with a runaway 91-69 win back at Fiserv Forum on Wednesday. 

A hot start anyone? 

Marquette came screaming out of the gate for Wednesday’s early 6pm tipoff, as if they just couldn't wait to get started. The Golden Eagles not only opened up the game on a 7-0 run, they also opened up with a Marquette defensive effort staple, the skunk. (Three straight defensive stops is a kill, and six straight stops is a skunk.) Deflections and heavy pressure swung the momentum Marquette’s way early, and they didn't hold back for the entirety of the first half. Marquette would go on to a 22-4 run to start the game while holding Providence to just 12% shooting. The Marquette lead would swell to 24 by halftime, behind a whopping 24 defensive deflections. Hands up, Marquette was locked in defensively. 

Didn’t need much from Oso

Despite early foul trouble for star big-man Oso Ighodaro, Marquette maintained intensity on both ends of the floor. The biggest beneficiary of minutes vacated by Ighodaro was sophomore Ben Gold. Usually displaying his stretch-the-floor offensive skillset, Gold was a force on the defensive end, accumulating 3 blocks and 2 steals in 25 minutes of action. It seemed that every time Providence got past the perimeter defense and got to the basket, Ben Gold was there. A momentum-shifter, Gold helped maintain Marquette’s hot start deep into the game. 

In a balanced effort, the Golden Eagles saw five different players hit double figures, including Stevie Mitchell, who got his first shot at the Friars after his absence in December. Mitchell went for 12 points, all in the first half, and as per usual, showed up in all the right places at the right time as the effort captain of the Golden Eagles. And extra effort is what Marquette needed from the guard position, as All-American Tyler Kolek had to leave the game with an oblique injury early in the second half. There has been no update on Kolek’s status at the time of this writing, but there should be an update from the team sometime on Thursday. 

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Without stars Tyler Kolek and Oso Ighodaro for a considerable chunk of the game, Marquette came through with a balanced effort from everyone else involved. A hot start was maintained, with Marquette improving to 22-6 overall and 13-4 in the Big East. Three games remain on the Big East regular season schedule, including a home bout with #3 UConn next week, but Marquette will first have to focus on a road date with #12 Creighton on senior day in Omaha on Saturday at 2:30pm ET