Oklahoma State hands Marquette first loss of 2020-21 season

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Justin Lewis (2) and Dawson Garcia (33) huddle with teammates during Tuesday’s game against Oklahoma State (Photo courtesy of Marquette Athletics).

The Marquette men’s basketball team fell to the Oklahoma State Cowboys by a score of 70-62 Tuesday night, making it their first loss of the season.

The Golden Eagles kept things close through the first 20 minutes of play, heading into halftime with a 35-32 lead. The second half was a different story, Marquette experienced a stretch in which they scored only 16 points in 16 minutes due to a strong zone defense from Oklahoma State.

“It really pushed us out on the floor and you know the spots that we wanna try to attack the zone — we weren’t able to get to those spots,” head coach Steve Wojciechowski said. “The few times we did, we didn’t capitalize or make them pay and … our offense was anemic.”

After shooting the ball at 43% from the field in the first half, Marquette finished with a field goal percentage of 34%. They also struggled to take care of the ball, committing a season-high 24 turnovers.

Despite the offensive adversity, the Marquette veterans were still productive. Redshirt senior guard Koby McEwen had a game-high of 21 points to go along with four rebounds and four assists. Senior forward Jamal Cain had a double-double, posting 13 points and 13 rebounds and senior forward Theo John continued to be a presence down low finishing with seven points, eight rebounds and two blocks.

First-year forward Dawson Garcia had a quiet night with just four points and two rebounds, but fellow first-year forward Justin Lewis was able to step up off the bench. The Baltimore native had six points and 13 rebounds in 22 minutes of play.

“I thought Justin gave us a huge lift in the first half and played well,” Wojciechowski said. “And that was very positive.”

The Cowboys were led by first-year guards Rondel Walker and Cade Cunningham. The duo combined for 31 points and was 10-for-20 from the field.

Oklahoma State also got contributions from senior guards Bryce Williams and Isaac Likekele. Williams had 13 points, two rebounds, four assists and four steals. Likekele had 11 points, six rebounds and three assists.

For the Golden Eagles, it was their first game of the season against a Power Five team. Wojciechowski said he expected there to be challenges for his team since they are still growing and developing.

“It’s a different level and for most of our team, in a Marquette uniform, it’s the biggest game that they’ve played in and played meaningful minutes and had significant roles,” Wojciechowski said. “And so we knew there was gonna be some growing pains, and there certainly were tonight.”

Marquette will now prepare to play in-state rival No. 4 Wisconsin Friday. The Badgers have won their first three games against Eastern Illinois, Arkansas-Pine Bluff and Green Bay.

“If you look at our schedule, you know from here on out, we play some really outstanding teams with really good players,” Wojciechowski said. “…We’ve gotta make that adjustment and grow up quick.”

The Golden Eagles will host Wisconsin at Fiserv Forum on Friday at 6 p.m. Central Standard Time. The game will be telecasted on FS1.

This story was written by Nick Galle. He can be reached at nicholas.galle@marquette.edu or on Twitter @thenickgalle