Marquette survives with a win at Kansas State

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Redshirt junior guard Greg Elliott finished with eight points of the bench in Marquette men’s basketball’s 64-63 win over Kansas Dec. 8. (Photo courtesy of Marquette Athletics.)

Following a loss on the road at then-No. 23 Wisconsin on Saturday, the Golden Eagles traveled to Manhattan, Kansas to matchup with the Kansas State Wildcats for the BIG EAST-Big 12 Battle Wednesday night and came away with a 64-63 victory.

The first half of this game was a struggle for both teams offensively with several missed layups, dunks and turnovers on both sides. Marquette shot just 32.4% from the field in the half, including graduate student guard Darryl Morsell shooting just 2-for-10.

However, redshirt first-year forward Justin Lewis stepped up and closed out the half with a 3-pointer to give Marquette a 31-30 lead.

Kansas State came out of the halftime break with a 7-0 run and forced Marquette head coach Shaka Smart to call an early timeout.

That lead would not last long for the Wildcats, as Marquette quickly came back and took control of the lead. With 3:40 to go, Marquette led 61-56.

Then the scoring struggles returned for the Golden Eagles as they went over five minutes of game time without making a field goal.

The Wildcats brought their deficit to just one before a wild sequence with first-year guard Kam Jones ending the drought by hitting a huge 3-pointer and then the Wildcats’ fifth-year guard Mike McGuirl answering by hitting a 3-pointer of his own on the other end with 16 seconds to play.

After the Wildcats fouled intentionally and Jones missed the first of a 1-and-1 at the line, redshirt first-year forward Oso Ighodaro closed out the game with a block on a layup attempt from sophomore forward Ismael Massoud.

This was the first true road win of the season for Marquette and first for Smart in his Marquette career after losing in their first true road game at Wisconsin.

The Golden Eagles were led in scoring by Jones, who made his third career start and had 15 points on 5-for-9 shooting, including 4-for-8 from beyond the arc.

Lewis was close behind with 14 points on 6-for-14 shooting. Lewis also had a team-high nine rebounds and was second on the team with five assists.

Redshirt first-year guard Tyler Kolek once again led the Golden Eagles in assists with seven.  Kolek also grabbed eight rebounds, but failed to score as he went 0-for-7 from the field, with all of those shot attempts coming from beyond the arc.

Additionally, redshirt-junior Greg Elliott, Morsell and graduate student forward Kur Kuath all scored eight points a piece on the night.

Elliott had his first impactful game off the bench this season as he also had two big assists during a key stretch in the second half that swung momentum in the favor of Marquette. Those eight points is a season-high for the veteran guard.

Next up for Marquette (8-2) is arguably the toughest opponent on their schedule this season as they host the No. 4 UCLA Bruins at Fiserv Forum on Saturday afternoon. The Golden Eagles non-conference finale is scheduled for a 1:30 p.m. tip-off.

This article was written by Matt Yeazel. He can be reached at matthew.yeazel@marquette.edu or on Twitter @MJYeazel.