MILWAUKEE — Providence coach Ed Cooley summed up his team's night in two words.
"Devastating loss," Cooley told reporters as soon as he walked to the podium after a 96-91 loss in double overtime to Marquette on Wednesday night.
Not even Ben Bentil's career-high 42 points and six 3-pointers could prevent the 20th-ranked Friars from losing their third straight game.
Jajuan Johnson scored 16 points and hit a key 3-pointer with 1:16 left in the second overtime, and touted freshman Henry Ellenson had 26 points and 16 rebounds for the Golden Eagles.
The mood was decidedly much more upbeat in the home locker room.
"I feel like I played in it," said Marquette coach Wojciechowski, a former point guard at Duke. "What an amazing college basketball game for both teams. A lot of 'Wow' moments."
Just a few more for Marquette (16-9, 5-7 Big East).
A bevy of NBA scouts sat in the Bradley Center stands to watch potential draft picks Ellenson and Providence's Kris Dunn. Bentil made them take notice, too, after shooting 11 of 29 from the field and 6 of 13 from 3-point range for Providence (18-7, 6-6).
The game ended up being a tense thriller.
Bentil, the conference scoring leader, hit a 3-pointer from the corner off the glass to make it 92-88 with 33 seconds left in double overtime. Another 3 by Bentil from the wing got the Friars (18-7, 6-6) within three with 16 seconds left.
Antsy Marquette fans who had started heading for the exits had to wait a little while longer. They groaned after Sandy Cohen III missed two foul shots with 14 seconds left.
But Bentil couldn't hit his final attempt from behind the arc, and Marquette's Traci Carter finished the game off by hitting two foul shots with 3 seconds left.
Bentil "had one of those games where ... the rim looked like ocean," Cooley said. "Give him a lot of credit, but he can't do it by himself."
Dunn had 17 points, seven rebounds and six assists but missed the second overtime after fouling out.
Both teams had several chances to end it earlier in the night.
Marquette led by five with 43 seconds left in the first overtime before Providence rallied, capped by two foul shots by Jalen Lindsey with 8 seconds left to tie it at 81.
In regulation, Providence's Dunn hit a 3 with 1:21 left but went 1 of 2 from the foul line with 33 seconds to leave the Friars two points ahead.
Carter drove the lane for a tying layup 8 seconds later, and a tightly-guarded Dunn threw a high pass to the wing that glanced of Lindsey's hands and out of bounds on the next possession to ensure that the game would go into overtime.
"There were 10, I could say 'fatal' moments in that game that (Marquette) capitalized on every single one," Cooley said.
Another close loss to Marquette stung the Friars. The Golden Eagles won 65-64 at Providence on Jan. 5.
"The two losses to these guys here is devastating, how we lost them both," Cooley said. "That's on me as the coach. Hopefully I do a better job if we're fortunate to play them again."
A third meeting this year would need to come in the Big East tournament in March.
Ellenson and Bentil were the stars, but Marquette's guards and swingmen set the pace in the overtime periods. Johnson was 5 of 10 from the field in 42 minutes and added seven rebounds.
Carter, a freshman point guard, finished with 12 points.
Providence: Bentil played 48 minutes and shot 11 of 29 from the field and 14 of 17 from the foul line. He added 12 rebounds. Coach Ed Cooley said his leading scorer's right foot was still a little sore after suffering the injury last week against DePaul.
Marquette: Center Luke Fischer had 12 points and 10 rebounds and fouled out. He was mired in foul trouble for much of the night after picking up his third late in the first half. ... The Golden Eagles allowed a nine-point lead with 8:44 left in the second half to whittle away.
Providence: Hosts Georgetown on Saturday.
Marquette: Hosts Creighton on Saturday.
AP College Basketball site: http://collegebasketball.ap.org/
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