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No. 6 Marquette opens Big East play with lopsided loss to Providence on cold shooting night

Devin Carter and Providence scored a lopsided win over No. 6 Marquette. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)

Marquette's quest for a second straight Big East regular season championship is off to a shaky start.

The No. 6 Golden Eagles suffered a cold night from the field Tuesday in a 72-57 loss to unranked Providence to open conference play.

Providence extended a 23-21 lead to 40-29 at halftime before reigning Big East Player of the year Tyler Kolek cut Marquette's deficit to 40-36 with a 3-pointer early in the second half. But there would be no Marquette rally.

The Friars responded with a 5-0 burst to increase their lead to nine. They eventually extended the margin to 17 points on multiple occasions in a second half where Marquette never mounted a threat. The final 15-point margin was the largest by Providence over a top-10 team since 2011.

Devin Carter led the way for the Friars with 22 points, eight rebounds, four assists and a steal. Davonte Gaines added 18 points while preseason All Big-East forward Bryce Hopkins chipped in 11 points and nine rebounds. His second-half dunk in traffic off a no-look pass from freshman guard Garwey Dual sent the home Providence crowd into a frenzy.

Kolek was Marquette's best hope of keeping things close with a 21-point, nine-rebound, five-assist effort while shooting 7 of 15 from the field. Kam Jones was the only other Marquette player to hit more than two field goals on a 5-of-14 shooting night en route to 13 points. The Golden Eagles shot 32.1% from the floor and 20% (4 of 20) from 3-point distance. It was an uncharacteristic night from a Marquette team that entered Tuesday shooting 48.9% for the season.

Providence, meanwhile, shot 43.1% from the floor and 34.4% (11 of 32) from behind the arc while winning the rebounding battle, 32-27. The Friars improved to 10-2 with the win while gaining an early edge in Big East play over the conference favorite Golden Eagles. Marquette dropped to 9-3 after previous losses to No. 2 Purdue and then-unranked Wisconsin.