Friars Can’t Pull Off Upset, Even with Two Xaviers on the Court

dave@friarblog —  January 18th, 2009 4:08 PM
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Another typical game for the Friars against a tougher opponent in which they were not expected to win.  Play well for most of the game, suffer an offensive lapse over the course of several important minutes, have a player’s brother walk onto the court from the stands to yell at a ref to his face, and just fall short of a victory.  You know, the usual.

(AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)

When the dust cleared, the Friars lost a tough one, falling 91-82 to the #14 Marquette Golden Eagles (16-2, 5-0).

Providence led for most of the game, but fell apart in the final 5 minutes on their way to a loss that dropped their record to 3-2 in BIG EAST play.

What seems to be taking center stage in all the commentary was the fact that Jeff Xavier’s brother walked onto the court to yell at a referee after Jeff was elbowed hard in the eye (it was a clean play, but he had to leave the game and did not return) and a foul was not called.  Just another day at THE DUNK.

Marquette coach Buzz Williams said:

“I told the officials, ‘We’ll leave, because that’s extremely dangerous. I saw the guy coming out of the stands. Forget the game; I’m going to protect the guys. I’m going to protect those guys no matter what.”


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- Looking at the numbers, Providence did so many things right that they really needed to do to pull of the upset.  They shot really well, out-rebounded Marquette, and even got to the line more often (a huge strength for Marquette so far this season).  So what the heck what wrong?  As you can see, turnovers was a huge discrepancy.  Providence committed a staggering 13 turnovers in the 2nd half, leading to 17 points off turnovers for Marquette!  Marquette was extremely careful with the ball, only committing 3 turnovers in the 2nd half (PC only got 2 points off them).

- Despite the good overall numbers for PC, Marquette hung around until it was a new game at the two minute mark with the game tied at 79.  Marquette continued to make threes, and Providence’s offense missed shots and turned the ball over when it mattered.  Sometimes the overall numbers do not tell the whole story of the game!

- PC’s 23.6 turnover percentage was their 2rd worst of the season, only behind the Northeastern game (30.3)

- This was the first BIG EAST game that the Friars out-rebounded their opponent (in both overall rebounding numbers, and offensive rebound %).

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For more information on advanced stats, check out Ken Pomeroy’s ‘Stats Explained’ and his ‘Stats Primer


1ST HALF – 37

2ND HALF – 39

Providence Offensive Rating by Half:

1st Half – 122.2

2nd Half – 97

Game: 107.3

The Friars pretty much matched their season average for efficiency.  We all knew that PC was going to have to step up their offense for a full 40 minutes in order to pull off the upset.  Falling under 100 for the 2nd half is just not going to get the job done if they were going to allow Marquette’s offense to operate as expected.

Marquette’s Offensive Rating by Half:

1st Half – 103.23

2nd Half – 128.4

Game: 119

Marquette also played around their great season average in offensive efficiency.

Providence Effective FG % by Half:

1st Half – 60%

2nd Half – 64%

Game: 62%

PC did exactly what they had to do shooting-wise.  The 62% eFG% was their 4th best of the season, 2nd best in BIG EAST play (Cincinnati game they shot 65.4%)

Marquette’s Effective FG % by Half:

1st Half – 50%

2nd Half – 65%

Game – 57%

Marquette put up their 4th best eFG% of the season, and their second best in BIG EAST play (1st was also against Cincy, 69%).   Their 65% in the second half was helped out by an incredible 7-14 from three-point land.


Let’s judge some performances by dishing out some pasta (from 1-4, 4 being awesome). My homage to the Star-Ledger.

Lazar Hayward – Unstoppable in the 2nd half

Jerel McNeal – See description for Hayward, Lazar

Marshon Brooks – Did all he could out there…wanted the ball at the end, but just couldn’t knock down the 3.

Geoff McDermott – Hard not to give him more bowls here, given he got 17 rebounds and 15 points.  6 turnovers (including one awful one in the last minute) and 3-9 from the line knocks him down to 3 bowls. Maybe he was just overworked out there.


Jonathan Xavier – Seriously, wtf are you doing on the court?  I would give you NO bowls if it was an option!

BOX SCORES FOR THE STATS NERDS! Boxscore Gametracker Boxscore [PDF]

ESPN AP Boxscore

ROUNDUP AROUND THE INTERNETS – “Providence Falls to No. 14 Marquette, 91-82”

The Providence College men’s basketball team (11-6, 3-2) fell to the #14 Marquette Golden Eagles (16-2, 5-0) by a score 91-82 on Saturday, January 17 at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center. Senior Geoff McDermott (New Rochelle, N.Y.) added 15 points and tied a career-high with 17 rebounds. The 17 rebounds was the most McDermott has registered in BIG EAST play. Sophomore Marshon Brooks (Stone Mountain, Ga.) paced the Friars with 21 points and grabbed 6 rebounds. – “PC can’t hold off Marguette’s late run, 91-82”

An entertaining and often bizarre night at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center ended with a disappointing loss for the Providence Friars last night.

The Friars threw a huge scare into 14th-ranked Marquette, but the Golden Eagles rallied in the final five minutes and escaped with a 91-82 victory

AP Article – “Providence player’s brother confronts ref in loss”

Jerel McNeal and Lazar Hayward each scored 25 points, and No. 14 Marquette rallied from a 13-point second-half deficit to beat Providence 91-82 on Saturday night.

Marshon Brooks scored 21 and Geoff McDermott had 15 points and 17 rebounds for Providence, which played most of the second half without Jeff Xavier, who was knocked in the face and dropped to the floor covering his right eye with 17:13 left in the game.

ESPN Recap Page

Sun Chronicle – “Friars upset bid denied”

It was so ugly that Jeff Xavier’s brother stormed the court in protest, hurdling over the bench of the Providence College Friars to encounter the Big East officiating team.

AP Photos


Kevin McNamara – “Bizarre Scene at The Dunk”

Keno Davis grew up going to basketball games and has coached at the collegiate level since 1995. He’s seen a lot of things but never what he saw last night early in the second half of PC’s 91-82 loss to Marquette.

Cracked Sidewalks – “MU down 13, storms back to beat Providence by 9.”

After trailing for most of the first 26 minutes, Marquette was in the odd position of NOT being the fastest team on the court. Providence’s players were beating MU off the dribble, blowing by our guards with frequency. PC was shooting in the high 60s, and Marquette was DOWN THIRTEEN POINTS.

And then Marquette snapped out of their funk, and put together two 14-3 runs over the next dozen minutes to shock the Friars. Acker was instrumental with his defense, and coming up with 3 steals down the stretch. Lazar was amazing, draining 4 of his 5 three-pointers in the final 10 minutes.

Todd Rosiak – “Unyielding Desire”

There is absolutely no quit in these Marquette Golden Eagles.

Guarding no one, being pounded on the boards and essentially left for dead early in the second half, MU mounted an impressive comeback over the final 8 minutes 38 seconds to beat the Providence Friars, 91-82, on Saturday night at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center and remain one of just two unbeaten teams in the Big East Conference along with Louisville

.The Truth About PC Basketball – “Quick Review of Marquette”

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