Rusty Marquette shoots for sweep of Providence

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Marquette will look for a regular-season sweep of host Providence when the teams meet Wednesday night in a Big East Conference showdown.

The Golden Eagles (8-7, 4-5) won 79-69 in the teams' first meeting Jan. 12 in Milwaukee. Dawson Garcia led Marquette with 20 points, and Koby McEwen contributed 17 points, eight rebounds and five assists.

Since then, Marquette has played only two games, beating St. John's and losing to DePaul.

The home loss to the Blue Demons tarnished Marquette's NCAA Tournament resume.

"I thought the start, the first half especially, we were bad," Marquette coach Steve Wojciechowski said. "And I take full responsibility for it. It was like we were running in mud. ... They were quicker to the ball. They played harder.

"We got to learn from it and we got to change. And we have to get better. Our team has shown we can play really good basketball, but we've also shown that if we're not there we can play really poorly. We got to put it together for 40 minutes."

Providence (8-7, 4-5) also is eager to bolster its NCAA Tournament credentials while hoping to even its series against Marquette. The Friars started strong but have lost four of their past five games, including 71-56 against then-No. 3 Villanova on Saturday in their most recent game.

Providence led 27-24 at halftime but was outscored 47-29 in the second half.

"We can play with anybody," Friars coach Ed Cooley said. "But if we don't play with a sense of purpose, desire, grit, physicality -- these things will show up."

Against Marquette, Providence will look to be more careful with the ball. The Friars committed a season-high 19 turnovers against Villanova, including six by David Duke.

But Duke had 10 points and 11 rebounds for his fourth career double-double. Providence's top scorer was Alyn Breed, who finished with 18 points, 11 rebounds and four assists.

"I liked our shot selection," Cooley said. "I liked what we were doing defensively. Then, in the second half, a bunch of impostors showed up."

Garcia leads Marquette with averages of 12.7 points and 7.2 rebounds per game. He is shooting 47.2 percent from the field for the season, including 41 percent from beyond the 3-point line.

McEwen is second on the Golden Eagles in scoring at 12.3, and D.J. Carton is next at 12.2. Jamal Cain is the fourth and final Marquette player averaging in double digits (10.4).

For Providence, Duke is the leader with 18.7 points per game to go along with 6.1 rebounds and 4.7 assists. He is shooting better from beyond the arc (42.9 percent) than he is overall (41.3 percent).

Nate Watson is second on the team in scoring at 18.6 points and is first in rebounds at 6.8. Then comes a precipitous dropoff to the third-leading scorer, A.J. Reeves, who is averaging 8.5 points while shooting 31.5 percent from the field.

--Field Level Media