Marquette beats No. 8 Providence 65-64
PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) Providence star Kris Dunn was triple-teamed, and there wasn't enough time left to find an open teammate.
He leaned back and aimed for the rim, but Marquette freshman Henry Ellenson swatted the ball away.
''We didn't even get a shot attempt,'' Providence coach Ed Cooley said Tuesday night after the Golden Eagles beat the eighth-ranked Friars 65-64. ''That's more frustrating than anything.''
Ellenson had 13 points, 10 rebounds and four blocked shots, swatting away Dunn's attempted buzzer-beater to preserve the victory.
''We expected Dunn to take the shot,'' said Haanif Cheatham, who led Marquette with 16 points. ''That's not a bad player to take a shot.''
Duane Wilson scored on a layup with 31 seconds left to give Marquette (11-4, 1-2 Big East) the 65-64 lead. The Golden Eagles avoided opening the conference schedule with three straight losses for the first time since joining the Big East in 2005.
''I thought our guys showed incredible poise, toughness and fight,'' Marquette coach Steve Wojchiechowski said. ''Really proud to beat an outstanding program.''
Ben Bentil scored 28 points, including 14 straight for the Friars in a key second-half run, and added nine rebounds for Providence (14-2, 2-1), which had won eight straight. Dunn had 20 points, seven assists, five rebounds and five steals for the Friars, who had climbed to their highest ranking in The Associated Press Top 25 since 1977.
It was the Golden Eagles' second victory over a ranked team this season. They beat then-No. 22 LSU in November.
Providence fell behind 7-0, with five missed shots and four turnovers. Dunn finally ended the drought with 15:40 left in the half on a layup. But he didn't score again until he hit a 3-pointer with 4 1-2 minutes left in the first half to cut Providence's deficit to 24-17.
The Friars did not take their first lead until a 16-4 run midway through the second. They led 58-50 with 6 minutes left before giving up eight straight points.
''We started the game bad and ended the game bad,'' Cooley said. ''This one's definitely on me. I've got to do a better job of getting my guys prepared.''
Dunn hit a 3-pointer to give the Friars a 61-58 lead. Providence led 64-61 when Ellenson fed Luke Fischer underneath for a dunk, Bentil missed a layup and Wilson grabbed the rebound to set up his game-winner.
Providence called time out with 24 seconds left and ran the clock down, but became frantic trying to get the ball to Dunn in the closing seconds. He tried to drive, then pulled up but couldn't clear enough space to get off a shot.
As the buzzer sounded, Cooley went onto the court to argue for a foul call, with no success.
''It's not the end of the world,'' he said. ''It's a game. It's our 16th game. I'm not going to be down. I'm going to continue to motivate this group to be the best that we can absolutely be.''
The Friars trailed 42-34 with 15 minutes to play before scoring 16 of the next 20 points to take their first lead. Included in that run were 14 straight points from Bentil - three baskets and then eight free throws.
Marquette: Leads the all-time series 15-6. In Big East play, Marquette is 13-3. The Golden Eagles lead 4-3 in conference games in Providence. ... Marquette won nine in a row, including a victory over Wisconsin, before opening the conference schedule with two losses.
Providence: The Friars were off to their best start since going 15-0 to open the 1964-65 season. ... Ryan Fazekas returned after missing six straight games with mono. ... It's the first time that the Friars have ever been the highest-ranked team in the Big East.
Marquette: hosts St. John's on Saturday.
Providence: visits Creighton on Tuesday.