Marquette drops a winnable game on the road to Creighton

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Photo by Sarah Kuhns

Marquette men’s basketball in a huddle during its win over Georgetown Feb. 16.

Following a win at home against Georgetown on Wednesday, Marquette traveled to Omaha, Nebraska, to take on Creighton looking to avenge their loss to the Bluejays back on New Year’s Day in double-overtime.

In what was a back-and-forth offensive shootout, Marquette fell in another close game, this time losing by just one-point 83-82 in regulation.

Both teams came out of the gate strong as they went into the halftime break tied at 46.

Similar to the Georgetown game, first-year guard Kam Jones once again led the way for the Golden Eagles in the first half. He shot 5-for-7 from the field and scored 12 points. He was the only Golden Eagle in double figures after the first 20 minutes.

Jones would continue his hot shooting, finishing the game with 18 points on 7-for-11 shooting. He hit a deep 3-pointer with just a few fractions of a second left on the clock.

At the break, the Bluejays were shooting 46% from beyond the 3-point line. However they had 10 turnovers in the half and did not have any points from their bench.

Early in the second half Creighton had their biggest lead of the afternoon when they went up by five at the 12:11 mark. At that time the Bluejays had made their last three shots and Marquette had committed four turnovers in the previous 3:36 minutes of play.

Shortly thereafter, first-year guard Ryan Nembhard hit a jumper that pushed all five Bluejay starters into double digit point totals. Creighton still had yet to get a point from their bench and only got one point for the entire game outside of their starting five.

Graduate student guard Darryl Morsell then went on a run for Marquette. The Golden Eagles took the lead with 7:35 to go on a 3-pointer by Morsell. Shortly after Morsell had a layup to put the Golden Eagles up by five with 5:00 to play.

Then the Bluejays responded with a rally, as they made three field goals in a row to grab a one-point lead with less than two minutes to play.

From there, Marquette did not take advantage of any of their opportunities to tie or lead the game.

Redshirt first-year forwards Justin Lewis and Olivier Maxence-Prosper both missed layups. Then, turnovers were committed on consecutive possessions by Morsell and redshirt-junior guard Greg Elliott, not allowing Marquette a chance at a shot attempt.

After Jones’ 3-pointer, Marquette was down by one with 0.4 left on the clock. Creighton inbounded the ball, the buzzer sounded and Marquette suffered their third loss in the last four games.

Among the five Bluejays starters who all scored in double figures, sophomore center Ryan Kalkbrenner led the way with 21 points on 8-for-9 shooting from the field. The 7-foot-1 center also had seven rebounds on the afternoon.

Guards in senior Alex O’Connell and first-year Trey Alexander each had 13 points along with 18 points from Nembhard. Senior forward Ryan Hawkins added 17 points along with a game-high nine rebounds.

For Marquette, it was Morsell leading the way scoring a game-high 23 points on 11-for-18 shooting. He added two rebounds and two assists but also committed five turnovers including the costly one on Marquette’s third-to-last possession.

Outside of Morsell and Jones, Lewis and graduate forward Kur Kuath also scored in double figures. Lewis finished with 11 on 5-for-13 shooting with seven rebounds and Kuath finished with 10 on a perfect 5-for-5 shooting with seven rebounds of his own.

Notably, redshirt first-year guard Tyler Kolek was on the bench for the final 15 minutes of the game. He finished with seven points on 2-for-4 shooting and just one assist after missing a large portion of the first half with two fouls as well.

With the loss, Marquette missed an opportunity to move up a spot in the BIG EAST standings. They now remain in fifth place behind fourth-place Creighton. The Bluejays own the tiebreaker after winning both matchups against Marquette this season.

Marquette (17-10, 9-7 BIG EAST) now prepares to host Butler on Saturday for their annual National Marquette Day Game. That matchup will tip-off at noon and is the third-to-last game of the regular season for the Golden Eagles.

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