It’s never an easy night in the Big East, even when you’re at home. No. 8 Providence taught that lesson to Butler on New Year’s Eve, and they were repaid the lesson themselves on Tuesday by Marquette.
The Golden Eagles picked up a surprising 64-63 win over the Friars after Henry Ellenson blocked Kris Dunn’s last-second jumper attempt to seal the game.
Henry Ellenson BLOCKS Kris Dunn, @MarquetteMBB UPSETS #8 Providence! #BIGEAST https://t.co/yGI08JFQs9
— FS1 (@FS1) January 6, 2016
Ellenson had a solid all-around game with 13 points, 10 rebounds, three steals and four blocks. But the backcourt was the key for coach Steve Wojciechowski’s team in this one, as Haanif Cheatham scored 16 points and Duane Wilson scored 11, including a late layup with 31 seconds to go.
For Providence, Ben Bentil was the best player on the floor, as he scored 28 points and grabbed nine rebounds. Dunn also had a strong outing, scoring 20 points, dishing out seven assists, grabbing five rebounds and getting five steals. However, it was the rest of the team that struggled, as the other seven Friars could only combine for 16 points on 7-of-30 shooting. If the Friars want to continue their strong start to the season, the ancillary pieces such as Rodney Bullock and Junior Lomomba are going to have to continue to step up. Otherwise, there just isn’t quite enough juice with their secondary scorers.
Overall, though, this isn’t a backbreaking result, and you’d assume those players will rebound based on their past performances.
This is, however, an incredibly important result for Marquette, especially after starting 0-2 in Big East play with losses to fellow mid-league teams Georgetown and Seton Hall. Simply put, it’s the most important result of the Wojo era thus far. Beating a top-10 team on the road is the kind of result that could put the Golden Eagles over the top with the NCAA tournament committee if their resume ends up on the bubble.
At 11-4, that bubble is exactly what Marquette seems to be destined to flirt with this season, so quality wins will be essential to prove the Eagles’ worth. And in the Big East, there are few better results you can get than this one.