Providence Friars vs. Marquette Golden Eagles Pick & Prediction DECEMBER 19th 2023


No. 6 Marquette will attempt to hand Providence its first home loss when the teams open Big East play on Tuesday night in Rhode Island.

The Friars (9-2) improved to 8-0 at home by beating Sacred Heart 78-64 on Saturday. Bryce Hopkins led Providence with 26 points and 12 rebounds in the win. It was his fourth double-double of the season.

Hopkins leads Providence in scoring (17.2) and rebounding (8.3).

Rich Barron made 4 of 6 3-point attempts and added a career-high 14 points for the Friars, who played without Devin Carter and Corey Floyd. Carter and Floyd were both injured in practice earlier in the week. Providence coach Kim English called both injuries “minor.”

Carter is averaging 15.5 points and 7.8 rebounds in 10 games. Floyd averaged 4.4 points and 21.7 minutes per game through Providence’s first 10 contests.

“I’m not a big believer in momentum game to game,” English said. “I think every game is different and every game presents different challenges. We needed a win.

“We faced some adversity even before the game and we overcame it,” English continued. “I give Sacred Heart a ton of credit as they played with a great intensity and effort. I thought we did a good job for the most part in the non-league part of our schedule respecting our opponent and playing up to our standards.”

Marquette (9-2) wrapped up the nonconference portion of its schedule with a closer-than-expected 84-79 victory over St. Thomas on Thursday. St. Thomas is in its third season as a Division I program.

The Golden Eagles had five players score in double figures for the first time this season. Oso Ighodaro led the way with 21 points on 7-of-10 shooting. It was his third 20-point game of the season.

Marquette had season highs in free throws made (22) and attempted (28), but St. Thomas was within one point, 73-72, with 3:40 to play.

“I think the focus for our team, and I think most coaches would agree with this, is just being our best,” Marquette coach Shaka Smart said. “The best us every time out. There’s different circumstances that can make that easier or harder. (Against St. Thomas) we were certainly dealing with a couple things that make it harder. But that is what it is and you have to find a way to win.

“We know we have the chance to do something special, but we know we’re also going to go through different twists and turns. Games like (St. Thomas).”

Marquette, which will enter Tuesday’s matchup on a three-game winning streak, did not have Stevie Mitchell for Thursday’s win. Mitchell sat out his second straight game with a hamstring injury. He started in Marquette’s first nine games, averaging 5.8 points per game. He is second on the team with 14 steals.

“He’s making progress with his hamstring,” Smart said. “Working at it every day with the trainers, but it’s one of those injuries you can’t tough your way through it. If it was, he would have played already because he’s as tough as they come. But we just got to make sure we keep in mind the long term.”

–Field Level Media

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