Providence (15-5) at Marquette (11-9)

The Sports NetworkJanuary 30, 2014 

GAME NOTES: The Marquette Golden Eagles hope to continue their recent dominance over the Providence Friars, as the two meet up for a Big East Conference clash tonight at the Bradley Center.

Marquette has won each of the last nine head-to-head meetings and leads the all-time series with the Friars by a 12-4 margin.

Last Saturday, Marquette took fourth-ranked Villanova to overtime, only to suffer a 94-85 loss. Things have not gone so well of late for the Golden Eagles, who are a game under .500 since the start of December. However, they have won 8-of-10 decisions at home this season.

Providence enters this matchup riding a five-game win streak. Most recently, the Friars notched an 81-72 victory over Xavier on Saturday to conclude a three-game homestand. Beginning tonight, they'll play four of their next five on the road.

After claiming a 35-31 halftime lead against Xavier, the Friars shot a lights- out 64 percent from the floor in the second half, their best shooting percentage in any half this season. Bryce Cotton had a game-high 25 points and five assists, while LaDontae Henton recorded a double-double with 23 points and 11 rebounds. Kadeem Batts and Tyler Harris both scored 12 points and combined for 14 rebounds in the win. Coach Ed Cooley once again road his starters heavily, as the bench contributed only two points. He has gone with the same starting lineup and a six-man rotation all season long. Cotton leads the way with 20.5 ppg, and Henton is averaging 13.6 points and 7.5 rebounds per outing.

Headlining Marquette's roster is forward Davante Gardner, a 53.2 percent shooter from the floor who averages a team-best 15.0 ppg and 6.2 rpg despite starting only six games this season. Jamil Wilson is the team's only other double-digit scorer with an average of 11.8 ppg, and he grabs 5.5 rpg for good measure. The Golden Eagles have held their own on the boards (+4.6), but their lack of a consistent perimeter threat (.300 3-point FG percentage) has been an issue. In last weekend's narrow loss to Villanova, reserve Todd Mayo (18 points) scored Marquette's final 10 points of regulation to force overtime. However, the team shot just 2-of-10 from the floor in the extra session. The loss spoiled a dominant, 29-point, 13-rebound effort from Gardner.

PC is seeking a sixth straight league victory, a feat it has accomplished only once previously (2003-04). That won't be easy to pull off inside the Bradley Center, but they certainly have a chance to end Marquette's nine-game win streak in the series.

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