Sunday, Jan. 18, 2009

Marquette comes back against Providence, tied for first in Big E

By Nicole
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I listened to Saturday night's Marquette basketball game on the radio driving home from a Badger hockey game in Madison. We'd been checking the score on the cell phone and when MU was down 13 points early on, I had little hope in the Golden Eagles' chances.

Marquette was 0-4 at Providence in their years in the Big East and their lack of size has kept them from keeping teams in check. The Friars were shooting lights-out and it seemed like Marquette was struggling to keep it's head above water.

Early in the second half, MU Coach Buzz Williams took a couple of timeouts to slow play and keep his team motivated. It's obvious he told his senior-led team that there was no way Providence could keep up the pace they had and MU just had to keep playing their game—eventually it would even out.

The Golden Eagles took that to heart and closed the game on a 30-12 run. Jerel McNeal and Lazar Hayward each had 25 points. Hayward was the difference-maker in the game, hitting threes when the team needed them most, including the initial go-ahead three with 2:10 left in the game.

Marquette moved to 5-0 in Big East play, tied for first with Louisville. The last time MU started 5-0 in conference was two conferences ago in the Great Midwest (their home before Conference USA.)

It's clear that Marquette's seniors are hitting on all cylinders and are looking to finish out their careers with a bang. The lack of size has yet to majorly affect the season and, in fact, the Golden Eagles purposely "went small" during Saturday's game, forcing Providence to play with them.

The determination they showed in not giving up despite losing by double digits on the road will carry Marquette well as they move further into conference play. With No. 1 Pitt losing to Louisville, it's clear that the Big East will be no cake-walk for any team.

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