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The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

No. 14 Marquette pulls past Butler on National Marquette Day

Photo by Alex DeBuhr
Junior guard Tyler Kolek heads to the basket in No. 14 Marquette men’s basketball’s win over Butler Feb. 4.

In front of a striped-out and sold-out Fiserv Forum, No. 14 Marquette men’s basketball took down the Butler Bulldogs 60-52 Saturday afternoon on National Marquette Day behind a strong defensive presence down the stretch.  

“Really excited about the way our guys finished the game,” Marquette head coach Shaka Smart said. “It was not one of our better offensive games, but the defensive effort was terrific. Butler deserves a lot of credit for the way they fought and battled. The switching they did bothered us some. … Excited to be able to win on National Marquette Day.” 

With the win, Marquette (19-5, 11-2 Big East) has extended its streak to five games in a row and has now won 10 of its last 11 games. 

Statistical Leaders: 

Junior guard Tyler Kolek led the way for Marquette, netting 13 points on 4-for-10 shooting. He also dished out eight assists and grabbed three rebounds. 

“I’ve got a ton of confidence in Tyler Kolek,” Smart said. “I like when he shoots the ball. He works harder than anyone in terms of his extra work and (the) time that he puts in the gym. I love the aggressiveness that he’s showing.” 

First-year guard Chase Ross also tacked on 10 points, coming up just short of tying his career-high. He also added two blocks and shot 3-for-4 from behind the charity stripe. 

“He’s a dude,” Smart said. “For a freshman, he plays with great poise. You can count on him to defend a lot of different spots. I thought he was playing efficiently on offense (too).” 

Sophomore guard Jayden Taylor led Butler with 19 points and seven rebounds, shooting 50% from the three-point line. Sophomore forward Simas Lukosius also earned 15 points on 5-for-12 shooting. 

A Hot and Cold First Half 

Marquette’s offense found its spark quickly, going on a 16-3 run in the first seven minutes. Four players contributed to the run: junior forward Olivier-Maxence Prosper (6), sophomore guard Kam Jones (5), Ross (3) and Kolek (2). 

The Bulldogs’ offense responded soon after by going on a 10-0 run of its own, it forced Smart to call a timeout.  

Butler got as close as five points, but Marquette kicked it into high gear once more, finishing the half on a 7-0 run to go into halftime leading by 12 points. 

Exhilarating End to First Half 

The finish to the first 20 minutes of this contest was one to remember and familiar for sophomore guard Kam Jones.  

With four seconds left in the half, Kolek dribbled down the court in transition and was fouled aggressively by senior forward Ali Ali. Ali was assessed for a flagrant one foul. Kolek drained his two free-throws and the ball came back to Marquette for the inbound play.  

On the inbound, Kolek quickly  passed it to Jones, who drained the corner 3-pointer to end the first half. It was Jones’ second straight halftime buzzer beater.

“I’m not sure I’ve ever seen (expletive) like that in all my life,” Butler head coach Thad Matta said. “That was tough.” 

Smart said that he was proud of how his team ended the first half. 

“That was huge,” Smart said. “We talk a lot about managing the end of the first half. I thought those guys did a phenomenal job at that. Kam did what he does.” 

Vicious Defense Down the Stretch 

Despite being outscored in the second half, Marquette’s defense imposed its will in the final minutes of the game. 

Butler had the ball four times while being within six points but was never able to gain a lead. Marquette forced Butler to turn over the ball 19 times and scored 22 points off those turnovers. 

“Being connected (and) being vicious,” Ross said. “That was our motto for today: be vicious. We just (had) to fight through everything.” 

Smart subbed in sophomore guard Stevie Mitchell in the final minute with Marquette up 58-52. Mitchell locked down on defense to get another key stop to steal the victory.

“The possession that Stevie Mitchell had at the end there, that was really what we want to be all about in terms of our energy and our aggressiveness,” Smart said. “He’s a winner. He has unbelievable pride in his team.” 

Next up: 

Marquette will now start a two-game road trip Tuesday against No. 24 UConn (18-6, 7-6 Big East) at the XL Center in Hartford, Connecticut. Tip-off is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. CST and will be streamed on FS1.  

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, Assistant Sports Editor
Kaylynn Wright is a sophomore from Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin studying journalism, and she is an Assistant Sports Editor for the 2023-2024 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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