Nine-tenths of a second are all that separate Providence from two potentially dramatic Big East Conference wins.
Instead, the Friars failed to come up with final stops that either would have forced overtime or won a game, forcing them to take a two-game losing streak into Milwaukee for Tuesday night’s conference matchup with Marquette.
After Creighton’s Christian Bishop dunked with 0.8 seconds left on Jan. 2 to beat Providence 67-65, Xavier’s Colby Jones drained a 3-pointer with 0.1 seconds remaining Sunday for a 74-73 win.
Instead of entering this one with a four-game winning streak and a possible top 25 ranking, the Friars are 7-5 overall and 3-3 in the conference.
“I have to do a good job and our staff has to do a good job of keeping our players focused, excited and motivated for the next opportunity,” Providence coach Ed Cooley said. “The good thing about playing in the Big East is that there is another great opportunity ahead of us.”
Sunday’s difficult defeat wasted a great performance by David Duke, who canned 7 of 9 3-pointers and scored a game-high 30 points to go along with six assists. Nate Watson added 17 points and 14 rebounds.
The duo continues to provide more than half of the Friars’ offensive output, averaging 38.5 points per game between them.
As for Marquette (6-6, 2-4), it’s coming off perhaps its most bitter loss of the season, made worse by the fact it’s had to sit on that defeat for a week.
Ahead 43-25 with 15:39 left on Jan. 5 at home against Connecticut, the Golden Eagles completely collapsed. They were outscored 40-11 for the game’s remainder and ate a 65-54 setback.
“I thought for 25 minutes, we played really well,” said Marquette coach Steve Wojciechowski. “But Connecticut is a really good team, and when they fought back, I don’t think we showed the toughness that we needed to.
“I have to do a better job of coaching, obviously. Anything that happens with this program falls on my shoulders,”
It was a 180-degree turn for the Golden Eagles, which trailed by 18 early in the second half on Jan. 2 at Georgetown before storming back for a 64-60 win.
Freshman Dawson Garcia collected 20 points and 11 rebounds against Providence, and leads the team in scoring (13 points per game) and rebounding (7.6).
–Field Level Media