Marquette has had to deal with a lot of adversity this season, but it hadn’t experienced anything quite like what happened Saturday afternoon.
Against Providence, the Golden Eagles overcame fear.
Not fear of the Friars; Marquette handled Providence, throwing down some devastating SportsCenter-worthy dunks en route to an 81-71 win.
With the game tied at six points early in the first half, Davante Gardner and Vander Blue started a 13-2 run that gave the Golden Eagles a good cushion to work with. Blue knocked down a 3-pointer to make it 11-6 and add to his streak of eight straight games with a make from behind the arc.
Providence cut the lead to 25-23 when Sidiki Johnson completed a three-point play after he was fouled by Gardner. The Golden Eagles finished the half on a 15-9 run to take an eight point lead into the half.
Then, pandemonium appeared in the Bradley Center rafters. In one of the more bizarre moments of the year in sports, a bat terrorized the floor for a good chunk of the second half.
Play was halted three separate times as it swooped down toward cowering and diving players and referees. The second time around, towels and coats were hurled in the creature’s direction, and players tried unsuccessfully to bat it out of the air.
Finally, arena control briefly shut out the lights, and when they came back on the bat was gone.
Suddenly, it was time to play basketball again, and the Golden Eagles were ready. A seven-point margin at 9:32 would be the closest the Friars would get in the second half. From then on Junior Cadougan, Jamil Wilson and Blue put on a show.
Cadougan led the Golden Eagles with 15 points while, Trent Lockett, Blue and Gardner each picked up 13.
A few other Golden Eagles had big nights in support. Juan Anderson knocked down two threes to finish with nine points, and Steve Taylor Jr. was quick in the paint with eight points and two rebounds.