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Big East ‘beasts’ clash as Providence hosts Butler

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Two teams that got off to a winning start in Big East play meet Saturday afternoon as Providence continues a five-game homestand with a visit from Butler.

The schedule won’t get any easier for the Friars (10-2, 1-0) after Wednesday’s 72-57 upset over No. 6 Marquette, their largest victory against a top-10 team since 2011.

But that’s life in the Big East.

Butler (10-2, 1-0) is another one of three conference teams with double-digit wins thus far, thanks to a current seven-game streak that continued with a 74-64 Tuesday triumph against Georgetown.

“This league is a beast,” Providence coach Kim English said. “The good thing about opening up with a team as good as Marquette is there’s no time wasted.”

Devin Carter (22 points) and Ticket Gaines (18 points) each hit five 3-pointers and combined for 10 of Providence’s 11 treys against Marquette. The Friars have now posted double-digit threes five times this season.

Bryce Hopkins and Josh Oduro had 11 and 10 points, respectively, and nine rebounds each, while Garwey Dual continued his freshman year progression with consecutive seven-assist games.

“(Dual is) really starting to figure out what we want,” English said. “He’ll make shots. He’ll finish. But he’s making the right play.”

St. John’s transfer Posh Alexander was the Bulldogs’ leader against Georgetown, logging 13 points, seven assists and a season-best five steals.

Alexander and leading scorers Pierre Brooks II (Michigan State) and Jahmyl Telfort (Northeastern) are among the “character” transfers who have helped to rebuild Butler this season.

“We have a locker room full of guys that have something to prove. There is a why to who they are,” Bulldogs coach Thad Matta said. “We’ve gotta continue to build because each game keeps getting tougher and tougher.”

Alexander helped Butler to overcome a poor shooting performance, going just 4-for-18 from distance after hitting a season-high 15 triples last Friday against Saginaw Valley.

“I said to Posh, would you please get this thing to double digits for me by halftime? And he said ‘Coach, don’t worry about it. I got you.’ And he did,” Matta said. “We were just sort of trading (baskets) and I thought we had a spurt in us.”

Hopkins and Brooks are the fifth- and sixth-leading scorers in the Big East, averaging over 16 points per game.

–Field Level Media

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