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Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

No. 16 Marquette takes down I-94 rival DePaul behind David Joplin’s career-high day

(Photo courtesy of Marquette Athletics.)

After being picked to finish ninth in the Big East, the Marquette men’s basketball team has continued to defy the odds.

Winners of eight of their last nine games, the No. 16 Golden Eagles (16-5, 9-2 Big East) move into a tie for first place in the conference with No. 13 Xavier. It is the first time since the 2012-13 season that Marquette has sat on top of the Big East.

While it wasn’t always pretty in its 89-69 win over DePaul on Saturday afternoon, scoring just 33 points in the first half, they are one step closer to winning at least a share of the Big East regular season title.

“I thought our guys brought energy defensively and we knew DePaul has really good shooters, they’re going to make some tough shots, we just got to stay with it and stay together” head coach Shaka Smart said to LaVall Jordan on FS1 in a post-game TV interview. “I thought we rebounded the ball well and then on the offensive end we were a completely different team in the second half.”

Statistical Leaders

Sophomore forward David Joplin led the Golden Eagles in the scoring department with a career high 28 points along with five rebounds. The Brookfield, Wisconsin native also went 8-for-11 from the beyond the three point line.

Three other players hit double figures for Marquette with junior guard Tyler Kolek putting up 24, while junior forwards Olivier-Maxence Prosper and Oso Ighodaro put up 13 and 10 points retrospectively.

Senior guard Umoja Gibson lead the way for the Blue Demons with 25 points on 66% shooting from the field, while grabbing three rebounds and two assists.

A tale of two halves

Despite shooting 50% from the field in the first half, Marquette put up just 33 points in the first half.

The Golden Eagles shot 4-of-13 (30.7%) from beyond the three point line and committed six turnovers.  It was lowest scoring first half for the Golden Eagles since Dec. 3 agaisnt Wisconsin where they put up 30 points.

“I thought we missed some good looks, but I also thought we played too much one-on-one,” Smart told ESPN Milwaukee broadcasters Steve “The Homer” True and Tony Smith in a post-game radio interview. “We don’t have the greatest one-on-one team, particularly when the defenseive is in help.”

Marquette would get things rolling a bit offensively down the stretch as junior guard Tyler Kolek and sophomore forward David Joplin would hit three pointers on consecutive possessions to help them take a 33-32 lead at half time.

The second half was a completely different story for the Golden Eagles as they dropped 56 points on 57.1% shooting from the field and 11-of-23 from deep.

Next man up

Already with out first year guard Sean Jones, due to a right wrist injury, sophomore guard Kam Jones appeared to injure his hip going for a steal in the first half.

After putting up 10 points in the first half, Joplin would score 18 points on six made threes in the second half to power Marquette’s offense.

“That’s what you recruit him to do is to make shots like that,” Smart said to LaVall Jordan on FS1. “He’s had a really good season, but it’s been a while since he’s had a game where its been a breakout performance from three like that.”

According to Smart, this wasn’t the first time Joplin dropped 28+ in Chicago this season.

“We scrimmaged Missouri in Chicago back in October and we stayed in the same hotel that we stayed in last night,” Smart told ESPN Milwaukee. “Jop almost had a duplicate game, we need him to stay at that same Marriott before games because he’s averaging 28 when he stays there.”

More than just a passer

Kolek has been known around the country for his passing ability, but since his 29 point outburst against Providence Dec. 20 he has been more than that.

Since that game, the former George Mason Patriot has been averaging 13.9 points, 8.1 assists and 4.5 rebounds.

Kolek finished one rebound shy of the first triple-double for Marquette since Dwayne Wade did it in the Elite 8 game against Kentucky. The Cumberland, Rhode Island native finished the afternoon with 24 points, 10 assists and nine rebounds

“He really led us and I thought second half was just phenomenal,” Smart said ESPN Milwaukee. “I think he is (going to get a triple-double). I think again it’s just continuing to playing the right way and create for his teammates which no body is better at that than him.”

Next up

The Golden Eagles will return home to Fiserv Forum to host the Villanova Wildcats on Wednesday. Tip-off is set for 7:30 p.m. CST and will be streamed on FS1.

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

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