Senior guard Jimmy Butler has a team-best 12 points for No. 11-seeded Marquette Golden Eagles, who lead the No. 14 Providence Friars, 46-33, at halftime of a first-round Big East Conference Tournament contest at Madison Square Garden. The winner advances to play No. 6 West Virginia Mountaineers in the second round Wednesday at 9 p.m. on ESPN2. Marquette needs a victory to get off the NCAA Tournament bubble.
Junior guard Darius Johnson-Odom has chipped in with 10 points for Marquette, which led 43-20 with 2:18 to go int he first half. However, the Friar, led by three 3-pointers by sophomore guard Vincent Council, made a late rally to trim the disadvantage to 13 points heading into the locker room.
Big East leading scorer, senior guard Marshon Brooks, has just 10 points for Providence, which has lost seven of its last eight games.
Statistically, Marquette shot 20-of-45 (44.4-percent) from the floor, 7-of-17 (41.2) from behind the 3-point arc. Providence finished 11 for 36 (30.6) on field goals and 7 for 17 (41.2) on 3-pointers. Marquette leads in rebounds, 21-16. The Golden Eagles have 12 assists to the Friars five.