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The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

No. 4 Marquette beats UCLA in Maui Invitational after second half comeback

David+Joplin+%2823%29+scored+a+team-high+19+points+in+No.+4+Marquettes+71-69+win+over+UCLA+Monday+night.+%28Photo+courtesy+of+Marquette+Athletics.%29
David Joplin (23) scored a team-high 19 points in No. 4 Marquette’s 71-69 win over UCLA Monday night. (Photo courtesy of Marquette Athletics.)

Oso Ighodaro kept it short and sweet after the game.

“Feels like a March Madness game,” the senior forward said.

The old adage for March is “survive and advance.” Marquette did exactly that — just in November.

In the opening round of the Maui Invitational, the No. 4 Golden Eagles (4-0) beat the UCLA Bruins (3-1) 71-69 Monday night at the Stan Sheriff Center.

The win is Marquette’s first ever against UCLA, which before Monday was 0-4 against the Bruins.

Jones comes up clutch

There was 4:05 left on the clock when junior guard Kam Jones — who is Marquette’s leading scorer this season — fouled out with 12 points.

Then it was the other Jones on the team that stepped up.

Sophomore guard Sean Jones was the Golden Eagles’ spark down the stretch, hitting the game-winning 3-pointer with 36 seconds to play to give Marquette the 71-69 lead. It was Jones’ only 3-pointer of the game.

30 seconds later, he deflected the ball out of bounds with 8.8 seconds left to disrupt the Bruins’ final possession. The kind of play the stat sheet doesn’t show, but makes all the impact.

UCLA would end up missing its final two shots of the game, sealing Marquette’s victory.

O-so important

Ighodaro only had five points going into halftime as Marquette was losing 35-30.

But out of the locker room, the 6-foot-11 forward stepped up.

After UCLA sophomore forward Adem Bona was issued a flagrant one, and No. 1 Jones made both free throws, it was Ighodaro who twisted the knife to give Marquette a 46-45 lead with a dunk that sent the entire Golden Eagles’ bench into chaos.

It was Marquette’s first lead since the 18:38 mark of the first half when the score was 3-2.

By the end of the game, Ighodaro had 14 points on 5-for-7 shooting and four rebounds, scoring nine in the final period of play.

Statistical leaders

Junior forward David Joplin led Marquette with 19 points, shooting 7-for-15 from the field and 5-for-11 from beyond the arc. Senior guard Tyler Kolek put up a game-high nine assists.

For UCLA, first-year guard Sebastian Mack led all scorers with 25 points on 6-for-14 shooting.

Responding after a poor start

Marquette’s normally-humming offense looked nothing it did in the Golden Eagles’ previous three games. Marquette shot a measly 12-for-31 (38.7%) from the field and 5-for-18 (27.8%) from beyond the arc in the first half.

After four minutes into the second half, it only got worse. The Golden Eagles gave up a quick 10-0 run and were trailing 45-33. But then the offense woke up.

In nearly four minutes, the Golden Eagles pieced together a 17-0 run made up of two dunks — both courtesy of Ighodaro — two layups, six free-throws and one 3-pointer to gain a 50-45 lead. Marquette’s offense was firing on all accounts, having made eight straight baskets, a sight much different from the opening half.

By the end of the game, the Golden Eagles finished 45.5% from the field and 32.4% from deep, having shot 54.2% and 37.5% in the final 20 minutes in those two categories respectively.

Up next

Marquette now turns its attention to No. 1 Kansas Tuesday night in a top-five matchup. Tip-off is scheduled for 9:30 p.m. CST.

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

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About the Contributor
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.

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