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Marquette shows its sharpness
The Golden Eagles (11-6, 2-3, Big East) beat the Friars (11-7, 3-3) in a 93-63 blowout win. The long layoff benefitted the home team as they unleashed their anxiety on another conference foe.
Marquette last played on January 9 in a 78-76 loss at Villanova.
“Any game you win in the Big East by 30 (points) is huge,” guard Maurice Acker said. “Night in and night out, it’s some teams that’s real good. You’re not gonna play a weak team in the Big East.
“(A win) gave us a lot of confidence, going against DePaul (away, Jan. 20) and the next game after that (at Syracuse Jan. 23).”
Three Marquette players scored more than 20 points in the game. Acker led the Golden Eagles with a career-high of 23 points. He made eight of nine shots and was 6 for 6 from beyond the arc.
Guard Darius Johnson-Odom and forward Lazar Hayward each scored 22 points.
“(Marquette coach) Buzz (Williams) can care less if I went 6-for-6 (from the 3-point line),” Acker said.
“(Monday) he’ll be jumping (on) me in practice.”
After Providence took an early 4-2 lead, Marquette tied the game at 4. Acker’s first three-pointer gave the Golden Eagles a 7-4 lead and they never trailed again, leading 45-29 at the half.
Marquette’s 61.4 percent shooting in the game (35-57) — making 13 of 21 shots from downtown (61.9 percent) — helped sustain a comfortable margin in the second half.
The action was more aggressive in the first half than the second. Acker chipped a tooth while diving for a loose ball on the floor. “I dove on the ball,” he said.
“It was like me and Lazar. My face was on the ground.
A (Providence player) came down and landed on my head. My head hit the ground and chipped my tooth.”
An elbow by Providence forward Jamine Peterson got him ejected from the game with 2:28 seconds left in the half. He hit forward Joseph Fulce in the mouth after coming down the court.
“I didn’t ever see it,” Williams said. “And then I’m hollering and screaming at Joe.
Joe said, ‘Coach, he hit me.’ (Officials) looked at it on camera.”
Peterson received a flagrant and technical foul. Fulce also was hit with a technical for unsportsmanlike conduct. Peterson can play in Providence’s next game on Jan 23 against South Florida.
“(It was) something about an elbow in retaliation,” Providence coach Keno Davis said. “(Officials) understood that, you know, there was some physical play (between Fulce and Peterson) on the other end.
“You just gotta be smart enough not to retaliate, but I don’t have any argument when they go to the (TV) monitor. That’s why you go to the monitor to make sure you get the right call. I’m not ever gonna complain about one of those (calls).”
Marquette forward Jimmy Butler joined three other teammates in double-figure scoring with his 14 points.
Providence’s Vincent Council led all scorers with 24 points.
No other visiting player reached double figures.