David Duke carried the Friars vs. Marquette (Photo: PC Athletics)
By KEVIN McNAMARA
A whole lot of David Duke and yet another big play by freshman Alyn Breed helped the Providence College Friars to a vital victory Wednesday at Alumni Hall.
Duke exploded for 31 points to go along with 6 assists and 6 rebounds to lead PC over Marquette in overtime, 72-63.
PC looked like it was in good shape in the extra session as Duke scored the first six points for a 65-61 lead but it wasn’t until Breed drained a corner 3-pointer with 35 seconds left that the Friars could exhale. It should be no surprise that Duke was the Friar who found an open Breed in front of PC’s bench.
“I’m just reading what the defense was giving us,” Duke said. “I knew Alyn’s confidence level was really high.”
PC improves to 9-7 overall and 5-5 in the competitive Big East with a trip to Georgetown up next. The Friars won despite shooting 34 percent from the field and 29 percent from the 3-point stripe. Duke and some excellent offensive execution in overtime proved to be the keys.
The Friars returned home for the first time since Jan. 2 and hurting from a 1-3 road trip. Duke had struggle din the last three games and said he needed to clear his head in order to bounce back with his season-high point total. “I told myself you have to take the good with the bad. To whom much is given, much is required,” he said.
The first half was either a defensive masterpiece or an offensive disaster. PC got off to a 1-of-13 start yet led 6-2. Marquette was 1-of-8 early with a host of messy turnovers. The visitors woke up a bit to go up 9-6 but an A.J. Reeves 3-pointer sparked a 7-0 run as PC regained the lead.
The only solution to the uneven – or awful – offense by both teams was Duke The junior guard began attacking the rim and the Golden Eagles were shook. An 18-18 game with 3:45 left turned as Marquette didn’t score again while Duke scored off a drive and then hit a 3-pointer as PC held a 25-18 halftime lead.
Providence’s lead grew to 29-22 but Marquette’s offense came out of the locker room with much better rhythm. Koby McEwen hit a 3-pointer and then star freshman Dawson Garcia scored his first two buckets of the game. A McEwen layup gave Marquette a lead and Marquette led 38-37 after a Justin Lewis dunk for a seventh bucket in 10 second half shots.
The Friars slowed Marquette down with a switch to a 1-3-1 defense. The switch helped PC score seven points in a row for a 44-38 lead and then a Duke 3-pointer helped the home team to a 47-41 lead.
Marquette recovered nicely as a 11-2 run that ended with a Greg Elliott 3-pointer gave the visitors a 54-51 lead with 4:57 left. But then the Friars counter-pinched with Reeves draining a monstrous three and Nate Watson scoring inside for a 3-point play.
PC led 59-54 with 2:22 left but could not hold the lead. Two defensive breakdowns led to a D.J. Carton layup and then a Theo John slam with 50 seconds left to tie the game.
Providence’s last chance for the lead didn’t fall as Jimmy Nichols couldn’t put back a rebound at the rim of a Duke miss. Marquette’s chance to win unfolded badly as tough PC defense held the Golden Eagles without a clean shot, as a prayer at the buzzer missed.
The overtime, however, was all Providence.
Cooley remarked that the marked differences in this 2020-21 season are found every day. That was certainly the case in this game.
If this game unfolds at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center, the PC fans are howling at every call in what was a physical, aggressive, old school Big East battle. But when Reeves drained a key 3-pointer to tie the game at 54-54 and after Breed put the dagger into Marquette, the building would have exploded.
David Duke – season-high 31 points, 6 rebounds, 6 assists
A.J. Reeves – 13 points
Koby McEwen – 13 points, 6 rebounds
It was a physical, foul-plagued game at Alumni Hall (Photo: PC Athletics)
ED COOLEY Post-Game Video: