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The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

Marquette can’t overcome rough 1st half struggles as it falls to Mississippi State

    Tyler Kolek scored 16 points in Marquette men’s basketball’s loss to Mississippi State Nov. 21 at the Rocket Mortgage Tip-Off Games. (Photo courtesy of Marquette Athletics.)

    Coming off a dominant 95-58 over Long Island University last week, the Marquette men’s basketball team traveled to Ft. Myers, Florida to take on the Mississippi State Bulldogs as part of the Rocket Mortgage Tip-Off Games.

    Despite 16 points from junior guard Tyler Kolek, 13 of which came in the second half, the Golden Eagles were defeated by the Bulldogs by a score of 58-55.

    It was an offensive struggle for both sides in the first half. Mississippi State hit their first three shots and sophomore guard Kam Jones had five points on 2-for-3 shooting early on as the Bulldogs lead 7-5 heading into the first media timeout at 15:56 left in the first half.

    Over the next eight minutes, Mississippi State would only score six points, while Marquette would go scoreless until sophomore guard Stevie Mitchell hit a layup and a free throw at the 8:25 mark to bring the score to 13-8.

    After trading some baskets, the Marquette offense finally found some rhythm as they hit three shots in a row to bring the score to 23-17 Mississippi State, which forced a timeout from head coach Chris Jans with 1:27 left in the half.

    The score remained at 23-17 as both sides headed to the locker room, with both sides missing a combined five shots down the stretch. It is the lowest amount of points the Golden Eagles have scored in the first half in the Shaka Smart Era since Dec. 11, 2021 against UCLA when they scored 21 points.

    Marquette also had zero bench points in the first half.

    The Golden Eagles jumped out with five quick points to start the second half, but the Bulldogs responded with a 6-0 run to give themselves a 29-22 lead with 16:20 to play.

    However, Marquette would respond with a 10-2 run to get its first lead since the opening minutes of the first half, going up 35-33 with 11:03 to play.

    The two sides traded the lead throughout the rest of the half, before Mississippi State’s senior guard Dashawn Davis hit a 3-pointer to give the Bulldogs a 51-48 lead with 2:32 left.

    The Golden Eagles would be held scoreless over the next two minutes as the Bulldogs built up a lead of 54-50 with 29 seconds left.

    First-year guard Sean Jones hit a layup with 11 seconds left to cut the deficit to just two, 54-52.

    Senior guard Eric Reed Jr. then hit both of his free-throws to push the lead back to four with nine seconds left, 56-52.

    Kolek attempted to keep Marquette in it as he hit a three from the right corner with three seconds left to cut the Mississippi State lead to just one, 56-55, but it wouldn’t be enough as Reed once again hit both free throws to seal the win for the Bulldogs.

    Kolek finished the night with those 16 points while also putting up four rebounds and two assists on the night. He was followed by Kam Jones who scored 14 points on 6-for-14 shooting and 2-of-10 from deep.

    Sophomore forward David Joplin, who had been averaging 15 points a game heading into this contest was held to just two points on free throws, while failing to hit a shot from the field (0-for-5).

    For Mississippi State, Reed lead the way with 15 points, including 12 points in the second half by shooting 6-of-7 from the charity stripe.

    Smart’s squad struggled from the 3-point line, going just 8-for-28 from beyond the arc, while shooting 41% from the field.

    The Bulldogs dominated the boards as they out-rebounded the Golden Eagles 42-30 and 15-5 on the offensive glass.

    The Golden Eagles (3-2) will be back in action on Wednesday night as they will take on Georgia Tech at 5 p.m. CST.

    This story was written by Jackson Gross. He can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter @JacksonGrossMU.

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