Bat disrupts Marquette game

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MILWAUKEE -- A bat caused some anxious moments during yesterday's game between Providence and Marquette, sending coaches, players and referees scrambling and delaying the game on a number of occasions.

The bat first appeared with about 11 minutes left, as it began flying near the court and circling over the crowd. At several points, it swooped near the court, sending referees and players scrambling -- while the original "Batman" theme played on the loudspeaker.

The game resumed following an initial 4-minute delay, but play was stopped again seconds later as the bat nearly flew into the side of Providence center Sidiki Johnson's head, sending him to the court.

The bat continued to circle the court for the next few minutes. At one point, Providence coach Ed Cooley menacingly held up his clipboard waiting to swat it out of the air, and Marquette's Jamil Wilson threw a towel in the air trying to trap it.

The bat appeared several more times during the game. With 8:52 left, it flew toward a group of players near the Marquette bench, and they jumped out of the way.

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Then, to cheers from the crowd, players and coaches, game personnel tried throwing towels at it to bring it down, but to no avail.

With 7:36 left, arena officials turned off the lights to try and "get rid of the bat," public address announcer Bob Brainerd told the crowd. The lights stayed out for several minutes, and hundreds in the crowd waved their lit mobile phones, like a concert, as Whitney Houston's "I Will Always Love You" played over the sound system. That seemed to do the trick, as the bat was not immediately seen again.

Junior Cadougan scored 15 points and host Marquette (14-4, 5-1 Big East) went on a 13-2 run early in the first half and a 9-1 run early in the second on the way to an 81-71 victory.

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