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The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

No. 5 Marquette won against Rider but lost All-American Tyler Kolek in the process

Photo by Katie Craig
David Joplin finished Marquette’s 95-65 win over Rider Friday night with 11 points.

No. 5 Marquette men’s basketball won the game, but lost its First Team All-American in the process as senior Tyler Kolek left the game in the second half with an ankle injury.

The Golden Eagles (2-0) would go on to beat the Rider Broncs (1-1) 95-65 Friday night, but they did so without their starting point guard to see them out.

“I really thought everyone came in and contributed in different ways,” Marquette head coach Shaka Smart said.

Kolek’s timetable

The Preseason Big East Player of the Year would not return for Marquette, sitting out the final 8:06 of the game.

“The status update from him was ‘I’ll be fine,'” Smart said. “But he did turn his ankle. And right away he subbed himself out and so we’ll see how it responds.”

There is no timetable for Kolek’s return to the starting lineup.

“Knowing Tyler, he’s a guy that will find a way to be on the floor when he needs to be on the floor,” Smart said. “But we’ll see how his ankle responds over the next couple of days.”

Dominant from deep

For an offense that was rated as high as No. 1 in the country on last season, there wasn’t a lot of room for Marquette to improve offensively. But the Golden Eagles were an average 3-point shooting team, hitting 35% from beyond the arc.

Much like the opening game, the shooting woes were gone, with the Golden Eagles finishing the first half 7-for-12 (58.3%) from deep.

“We knew that we had to come in with a level of focus,” Smart said. “Our starting group did a great job, beginning the game with very good focus and connectivity.”

Junior forward David Joplin made it 7-0 early with a 3-pointer just over a minute into the game. Junior guard Kam Jones joined him soon after followed by sophomores Chase Ross and Ben Gold.

A string of four makes from deep in three minutes gave Marquette a 24-15 lead and forced a timeout from Rider.

“It’s definitely how we want to start out the game,” Jones said. “That’s how we practice starting out the game every practice, so it’s good to see what you work on and translate into the game.”

By the end of the game, even though the makes from range trailed off, Marquette’s 43% 3-point shooting percentage was nearly double Rider’s 26%.

Statistical leaders

For the second game in a row, Jones was the leading scorer, netting 23 points while shooting 8-for-16 from the field and 5-for-11 from beyond the arc. Senior forward Oso Ighodaro earned a double-double of 13 points and 11 rebounds.

For Rider, redshirt senior forward Mervin James finished with a team-high 15 points. Graduate student guard T.J. Weeks Jr. was the only other Bronc to score double-digit points, finishing with 14 on 4-for-10 shooting.

An improved Joplin

If there were any first-career start woes for Joplin Monday, they were long gone by the time Friday night rolled around.

The Brookfield Central product — who took former forward Olivier-Maxence Prosper’s spot — brings an improved offensive package to Marquette’s starting lineup, which was on display from the get-go.

He started the game consistent, ending the first half a perfect 4-for-4 from the field and 3-for-3 from beyond the arc with 11 points.

“That’s all you can really ask, you can’t really control necessarily the ball going in and out,” Jones said. “He’s been great for us, stepping into a new role, starting this year for the first time in his career.”

Skunk alert

Marquette fans have grown accustomed to kills, but new this year is a skunk, which is six straight defensive stops — or two kills in a row.

The first-ever skunk in Marquette history came at the 7:30 mark of the first half, a stretch that held Rider scoreless for over three minutes.

The Golden Eagles nearly got a second one at the end of the game, but a foul call negated it, keeping their skunk count to one on the year.

Up next

Marquette will play its first ranked opponent of the season when it travels to Urbana-Champaign to face No. 25 Illinois (2-0) Tuesday night at the State Farm Center. The game is scheduled to start at 7:00 p.m. CST.

“That’s where 1,000% of our focus will go,” Smart said.

Possibly without Kolek, on the road, against a Top 25 opponent, the real test begins.

This article was written by Jack Albright. He can be reached [email protected] or on Twitter/X @JackAlbrightMU.

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About the Contributors
Jack Albright
Jack Albright, Executive Sports Editor
Jack Albright is a sophomore from Charlton, Massachusetts studying journalism. He is the Executive Sports Editor of the Marquette Wire for the 2023-24 school year. In his free time, Jack likes to hang out with friends and watch Formula 1. He is excited to write fun stories about all things Marquette athletics and oversee new types of digital content.
Katie Craig
Katie Craig, Staff Photographer
Katie is a Staff Photographer at the Wire. She is a first-year from Lakeville, MN studying digital media and minoring in advertising. In her free time, Katie enjoys photography and hanging out with her friends. This year Katie is looking forward to getting to know more people and improving her photography skills.

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