Senior guard Jimmy Butler netted 19 points, collected 11 rebounds and dished out eight assists to guide No. 11-seeded Marquette Golden Eagles past No. 14 Providence Friars, 87-66, in a first-round Big East Conference Tournament contest at Madison Square Garden. The Golden Eagles (19-13) advance to play No. 6 West Virginia Mountaineers, the defending Big East Tournament champions, in the second round Wednesday at 9 p.m. on ESPN2.
Junior guard Darius Johnson-Odom scored a team-best 23 points and 5 rebounds for Marquette, which snapped a two-game losing streak and more than likely removed themselves from the NCAA Tournament bubble. Junior forward Jae Crowder added 10 points.
Providence (15-17), which trailed 46-33 at halftime, got within 10 points in the first two minutes of the second half, but could never get closer. Sophomore guard Vincent Council paced Providence with 21 points. Big East leading scorer Marshon Brooks netted 20 points in his final collegiate game.
The 2011 Big East Tournament schedule features four more games on Wednesday:
Noon (ESPN2): No. 8 Georgetown Hoyas vs. No. 9 Connecticut Huskies; 2 p.m. (ESPN2): No. 5 St. John's vs. No. 14 Rutgers Scarlet Knights; 7 p.m. (ESPN2): No. 7 Cincinnati Bearcats vs. No. 15 South Florida Bulls; 9 p.m. (ESPN2): No. 6 West Virginia Mountaineers vs. No. 11 Marquette Golden Eagles (9 p.m. on ESPN2).
|Final - 3.8.2011||1||2||Total|
|Marquette Golden Eagles||46||41||87|