Marquette kickoff 2021 season with 98-40 exhibition win over Bowie State

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Photo by Collin Nawrocki

Kur Kuath finishes off a dunk in Marquette’s exhibition win against Bowie State Nov. 4.

The Shaka Smart era is officially underway as the Marquette men’s basketball team defeated Bowie State 98-40 in an exhibition Tuesday night at Fiserv Forum.  

“This is just the first step for us. Obviously, the competition ramps up from here, but I thought our guys did a really good job of trying to execute our game plan offensively and defensively, and we shared the ball relatively well,” Smart said.  

Despite sporting a roster made up of 10 newcomers to the program, the Golden Eagles played well as a team resulting with five players reach double figures throughout the contest.  

The Golden Eagles were aggressive on both ends of the floor often and early, as they got out to a 15-2 lead five minutes into the game.  

Marquette came out firing from beyond the arc as they started the game four-for-five from the 3-point line, but finished the game going 13-for-41 from beyond the arc. 

More than half of Marquette’s shots attempted came from beyond the arc, but in the eyes of Smart, he’s ok with those attempts.

“It’s a high number (41), but if they’re good shots, we’ll take them,” Smart said. “We’ve got a lot of guys that can make shots when they’re open, so we want to keep creating good shots for them.”

Defensively, the Golden Eagles looked efficient in the first half holding the Bulldogs to shoot 25% from the field.

Marquette forced a total of 16 turnovers in the first 20 minutes, resulting in 20 points. 

At the half, Marquette was in full control as they led 48-17 with Justin Lewis leading all scorers with 10 points at the break. Lewis would finish the game with 13 points and seven rebounds and three steals while shooting 45% from the field.

The second half would not be much different for the Golden Eagles as they controlled the tempo on both sides of the ball.

In the half alone, Smart was able to roll out numerous different lineups for Golden Eagles, including some that featured most of the team’s first-year players. 

“Fortunately, we were able to build a lead and let some of those young guys that have never played get a lot of experience. So, I was pleased with the fact that you know, they all did some good things,” Smart said.  

Graduate student forward Kur Kuath made his presence felt on both ends of the court. The Oklahoma transfer finished with a double-double racking up 12 points and a team-high 10 rebounds. Kuath also added four blocks and a steal. 

The Oklahoma graduate student transfer also had four blocks thanks to his 6’10 frame.

“His shot-blocking really helps us. If I get beat I’ll know he’s back there ready to protect the rim,” Kolek said. “He defended really well and it’s great to have him.”

Redshirt first-year guard Tyler Kolek continued his success as the reigning Atlantic-10 Conference Rookie of the year, finishing with a team-high in points and assists. 

Kolek finished with 15 points on 5-8 shooting from the 3-point line and seven assists. Kolek finished last season shooting 35% from beyond the arc at George Mason and will be a beneficial factor for the Golden Eagles when it comes to improving their 3-point shooting from last season.  

“We’re going to shoot a lot of threes this year, that’s how coach likes to play. My teammates were finding me in the right spots, and we got good looks, so we’ll take those all day,” Kolek said.  

First-year guard Stevie Mitchell was efficient in his Marquette debut. The Reading, Pennsylvania, native did little bit of everything on the stats sheet adding 10 points, four assists and four steals throughout the game.  

“Just having great guys playing alongside me makes it so much easier so I don’t have to worry about myself as much,” Mitchell said. “I think just playing hard has been something that helps me play through a lack of confidence and is something that coach Smart has emphasized over and over again, so I just try to learn and listen from him.” 

Fellow first-year guard Kam Jones posted 13 points, four rebounds and three steals coming off the bench.  

Smart had high praise for the two first-years while crediting former Marquette basketball head coach Steve Wojciechowski for bringing the two to Milwaukee.  

“Coach Wojo’s staff deserve phenomenal credit for recruiting those guys,” said Smart. “As a coach coming in, you could not inherit two higher-character guys than those two. I really appreciate the fact they stayed with Marquette even though they didn’t know me and my coaching staff. It really says a lot about who they are as people.” 

Next up for Marquette is their official season-opener where the Golden Eagles will take on Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville Nov. 9 at 7:30 p.m. CST at Fiserv Forum.  

This story was written by Sam Arco. He can be reached at samuel.arco@marquette.edu or on Twitter at SamArco@MU.