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The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

Marquette takes Big East opener against Creighton

Photo by Forster Goodwich
Junior forward Olivier-Maxence Prosper goes up for a shot in Marquette men’s basketball’s win over Creighton Dec. 16 at Fiserv Forum.

The Marquette men’s basketball team entered Friday night’s Big East home opener in search of its first win against Creighton at Fiserv Forum since 2017.

Though the Bluejays were without 7-foot-1 center Ryan Kalkbrenner for the third straight game, the Golden Eagles managed to achieve that goal by defeating Creighton 69-58. 

“I’m really grateful for our fans and our students for terrific support tonight,” Marquette head coach Shaka Smart said. “It was great energy in the building. Thought (we) were better on defense than we were on offense tonight, which, we kind of been the other way around for most of the season.

“And I thought our guys did a terrific job of flying around multiple efforts and get their hands on the basketball. … Excited about the way our guys played tonight and just want to get better moving forward.”

Junior forward Olivier-Maxence Prosper put the Golden Eagles on the board first when he drove to the hoop for a layup. The Bluejays then responded with a basket of their own from first-year forward Fredrick King. 

Both teams then entered a stretch where exchanged bucket for bucket as there eight lead changes in the first 12 minutes.

Creighton built up a 22-16 lead before Marquette complied a 21-5 run to break open the game. Six different players scored across the extended run for the Golden Eagles.

“We’re just trying to get the ball in the paint. We felt like we could do that and once we started doing that good things happen,” junior forward Oso Ighodaro said. “We did a good job on the defensive end (as well), we got out in transition a couple of times, which helps to get us some easy baskets.”

Sophomore guard Trey Alexander hit a jumper to cut the Creighton deficit to 40-31 heading into halftime.

Marquette ended the half shooting 47.1% from the field and 38.5% from beyond the arc.

The Golden Eagles had 15 bench points, 10 of which came from sophomore forward David Joplin, compared to the Bluejays’ zero after the first 20 minutes of action. 

Senior forward Baylor Scheierman led Creighton with 10 points and eight rebounds in the first half. He would be held to just four points in the entire second half, finishing the night with 14 points and 11 rebounds.

“First half was able to get my spots, we liked the matchup with me in the post and then the second half they (Marquette) kind of brought more people out of me trying to make me kick it out,” Scheierman said.

Junior guard Tyler Kolek started the second half for the Golden Eagles by sinking a three-pointer from the top of the key. 

Creighton narrowed the gap to eight points on five occasions in the second half but could not overcome Marquette’s offense.

Sophomore guard Stevie Mitchell stripped the ball away from Creighton sophomore forward Arthur Kaluma at the 11:12 mark of the half to which Mitchell slammed it home for his first career dunk.

“It felt great,” Mitchell said. “I thought I had missed because it wasn’t like straight through, it rattled a little bit. But yeah, I felt really good.”

Marquette then put the game away off a 9-0 run to cruise its way to its first Big East win of the season.

The Bluejays turned over the ball a season-high 18 times, resulting in a 18-8 advantage for the Golden Eagles on points off of turnovers.

“I think we were very active defensively,” Mitchell said. “I think we press our defensive identity that we always try to have. I think we did a good job of that. We can always control our defense, so just focusing on what we can control always leads to us playing our best.”

Creighton head coach Greg McDermott said Marquette’s disruptiveness on defense caused a lot of trouble with their primary ball handlers.

“They keep coming at you and they got some guys off the bench to come in and bring good activity,” McDermott said. “Sean Jones comes in and really pressures the basketball. They got length in (Oso) Ighodaro and O-Max (Olivier-Maxence Prosper) and they compete and play really hard.

“Thought we were causal at times with some of our passes, got into the teeth of the defense and instead of moving the defense with a pass fake or a shot fake we threw it directly to them and they’re going the other direction.

Marquette shot 45% from the field on the night and 28.6% from behind the arc.

Ighodaro led the way for Marquette with 16 points and six rebounds.

“Ighodaro in my opinion is one of the most improved players in our league,” McDermott said. “At least what I have seen.”

Prosper also netted 14 points and added six rebounds. Joplin scored in double figures with 10 points and sophomore guard Kam Jones added nine. Kolek recorded seven assists with no turnovers while also adding four steals.

“We’re a super unselfish team,” Ighodaro said. “We don’t have a guy that’s going to go out and get 20, 25 every night. The way we win is by sharing the ball and trusting each other and making plays.” 

Marquette (9-3) will now travel to Rhode Island to take on Providence (8-3) Dec. 20 at 6 p.m. CST. 

This article was written by Kaylynn Wright. She can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter @KaylynnWrightMU. 

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About the Contributor
Kaylynn Wright
Kaylynn Wright, Assistant Sports Editor
Kaylynn Wright is a junior from Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin studying journalism, and she is an Assistant Sports Editor for the 2024-2025 school year. Outside of the Wire, she enjoys reading and watching baseball, specifically the San Francisco Giants and the Boston Red Sox. She is excited to meet new people and continue to create high-quality sports content for the Wire.

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