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The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

BASELINE: Marquette withstands early exit in Big East Tournament

Junior guard Tyler Kolek finished with 19 points in No. 6 Marquette men’s basketball’s win over St. John’s in the Big East Tournament Quarterfinals Thursday afternoon at Madison Square Garden. (Photo courtesy of Marquette Athletics.)

NEW YORK – The top-seeded Golden Eagles didn’t have a smooth sailing in their Big East quarterfinals matchup against St. John’s Thursday afternoon.

After a rocky first-half performance, Marquette turned things around in the second half with Big East player of the year Tyler Kolek running point.

Kolek scored seven of his team’s final 11 points in overtime to send the Golden Eagles into Friday night’s semifinals at Madison Square Garden.

Here’s a breakdown of the win:

Game MVP:

Kolek continued his hot finish to the regular season Thursday afternoon by posting 19 points, nine rebounds and six assists.

Marquette head coach Shaka Smart said Kolek’s mentality coming out of halftime set the tone for the Golden Eagles comeback.

“I thought Tyler, starting at the beginning of the second half, had a much better clarity for attacking and being the most aggressive guy on the floor,” Smart said. “Thought he made a lot of plays, not just the ones where he scored, but created some plays for other guys.”

Key Stats:

  • The Red Storm grabbed 25 rebounds in the first half compared to the Golden Eagles’ 15.
  • The ten point margin is the largest halftime deficit Marquette has overcome this season.
  • The Golden Eagles had 18 assists on the day with nine of those coming from Kolek.
  • Junior forward Oso Ighodaro had his fourth double-double of the season with 10 points and 11 rebounds.


  • The Golden Eagles have now won four straight matchups against the Red Storm and lead the all-time series 27-16.
  • Marquette improved to 8-4 on the season when trailing at halftime.
  • It’s the Golden Eagles’ first win in overtime.
  • Kolek now sits second all-time in program history for assists in a single season with 252. He now is 22 assists away from tying Tony Miller’s record of 274 assists in a single season.
  • St. John’s forward Joel Soriano landed his 25th double-double this season with 12 points and 12 rebounds. He now leads the NCAA in that stat this season.

Quote of the Day:

Smart spoke on how he thought his team responded after its 10 points halftime deficit:

“Our guys were great. They communicated with each other. I think we had a couple of guys that don’t even get in the game kind of went off, which is good, from a leadership standpoint. We knew that it was one of our worst halves. And we knew that we had to lead with the defensive end of the floor. And the way that these guys, plus Stevie, plus Kam and Oso so started the first half was terrific. And I thought Chase Ross gave us a huge lift as a freshman coming in here playing with great poise,” Smart said.

“When this group here has clarity about us and really plays through being connected with each other, we can play with anyone in the country. We got away from that early on but we got that back and that’s what allowed us to win.”

Next Up:

The Golden Eagles (26-6, 17-3 Big East) will now take on No. 4 seed UConn tomorrow night at The Garden. Tip-off is set for 5:30 p.m. CST on FS1.

This article was written by Benjamin Hanson. He can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter @benhansonMU.

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About the Contributor
Benjamin Hanson
Benjamin Hanson, Sports Reporter
Ben Hanson is a sophomore from Minneapolis, Minnesota studying journalism, digital media and advertising. He is a sports reporter and the assistant social media producer for the Marquette Wire for the 2023-2024 school year. When he's not in the newsroom, he likes creative writing, being with friends and going to sporting events. He is excited to be able to spread the word of the Marquette Wire because it has done so much for him while also refining his sports writing.

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