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Marquette looks to stay perfect in Big East vs. Providence

Jan 17, 2009 - 11:17 AM No. 14 Marquette (15-2) at Providence (11-5) 9:00 p.m. EST

PROVIDENCE, Rhode Island (Ticker) -- While Marquette was expected to be among the elite in the Big East, Providence's good start to conference play comes as a bit of a surprise.

The Friars look to continue their quality early season performances and hand the 14th-ranked Golden Eagles their first conference loss in the process when the teams meet Saturday.

Marquette (15-2, 4-0 Big East) has won seven straight with three of its four conference wins coming on its home court. The Golden Eagles begin a stretch of five road games in their next seven against the Friars.

Following a five-point win at Rutgers, Marquette registered an impressive win over then-No. 22 West Virginia last Saturday. Jerel McNeal led the way with 26 points while Dominic James added 17 points and seven assists.

After three wins against unranked Big East opponents, the Friars (11-5, 3-1) hung around with 10th-ranked Georgetown before dropping an 82-75 contest last Saturday.

Providence held a 36-33 halftime lead, but the Hoyas used a 21-2 run midway through the second half to pull away from the upset-minded visitors.

Marshon Brooks scored 18 of the Friars' 37 bench points while Weyinmi Efejuku added 13.