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The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

No. 3 Marquette loses to Wisconsin for third straight year, 75-64

Marquette+mens+basketball+head+coach+Shaka+Smart+is+0-3+against+Wisconsin.+%28Photo+courtesy+of+Marquette+Athletics.%29
Marquette men’s basketball head coach Shaka Smart is 0-3 against Wisconsin. (Photo courtesy of Marquette Athletics.)

MADISON, Wis. — It remains the one thing Shaka Smart is yet to do.

In his three years as the Marquette men’s basketball coach, he has won the Big East regular season and Tournament title in the same season, gave the Golden Eagles their first Associated Press Poll top 3 ranking in decades and put the program back in the national spotlight.

But he hasn’t beaten Wisconsin, now sitting 0-3 against the Badgers (6-2) after Marquette (6-2) lost 75-64 Saturday afternoon at the Kohl Center.

“Very disappointing game for us as a team. I think the most important thing for those of us inside of our program is to always remember that we win and lose together,” Smart said. “We always break our games down culturally, defensively and offensively. We weren’t good enough in any of those three phases today. So that would be a really good learning experience.”

Starting on the back foot

Just about everything that could have gone wrong in the first half for Marquette did.

Missed shots, few rebounds and early foul trouble plagued the Golden Eagles, and after 20 minutes, it was unclear who the No. 3 team in the country was.

Marquette went down 22-13 10 minutes into the game, putting the Badgers in the bonus and giving up a 7-0 run in the process. Just four minutes later, the score was 36-23 and Marquette hadn’t scored in over two minutes, forcing Smart to call a timeout.

After the timeout, sophomore guard AJ Storr — who transferred from St. John’s — got a Kohl Center-erupting alley-oop dunk to mark a second 7-0 Badger run.

Junior guard Kam Jones scored a last-second 3-pointer but Marquette trailed 46-33 going into the locker room.

In the half, Marquette shot 37% from the field and 28.6% from deep, compared to Wisconsin which shot 41.4% and 38.5% respectively.

Klesmit with the hot hand

Wisconsin junior guard Max Klesmit was lights-out from deep in the opening 20 minutes.

With 3:27 left in the first half, Klesmit nailed a 3-pointer from the corner, his 18th point and fifth 3-pointer of the game. It was the basket that forced Smart to call his first timeout.

Klesmit finished the first half with 21 points — the most by any Badger in one half this season — and shot 5-for-8 from beyond the arc.

“Not playing defense with the level of desperation that you have to guard him with,” Smart said. “I give Klesmit a lot of credit. I really, I like him as a player.

“Because he is like, ‘I’m going after it. I don’t care who I’m playing against. I don’t care what anyone says. I’m gonna play with a chip on my shoulder.’ And so maybe our team can take a cue from watching that and maybe we can emulate him.”

Trouble on the glass

Marquette’s rebounding hampered it all game long.

In the first 20 minutes, the Badgers had as many offensive rebounds as the Golden Eagles had defensive rebounds (8). By the end of the game, the Badgers had 15 offensive rebounds while the Golden Eagles had 23 total boards, the lowest amount all season.

“We clearly have a long way to go building on championship habits on the defensive end,” Smart said. “Guarding the basketball, blocking out and rebounding, being quicker to the ball, defeating screens, contesting outside shots.”

The Badgers got 52% of their misses back from rebounding while the Golden Eagles only got 17%. The rebounding led to 18 second chance points for Wisconsin compared to Marquette’s two.

Statistical leaders

Jones led Marquette with 19 points, shooting 7-for-12 from the field and 3-for-7 from beyond the arc. Kolek earned a game-high six assists along with 11 points. The two guards were the only Golden Eagles to finish with double-digit points.

Along with Klesmit, three other Badgers — Steven Crowl, Tyler Wahl and AJ Storr — scored double-digit points and Crowl earned a near-double-double of eight rebounds to go along with his 16 points.

Up next

The Golden Eagles will host the No. 16 Texas Longhorns (6-1) — Smart’s former team — Wednesday night at Fiserv Forum at 7:00 p.m. CST.

“It’s Dec. 2, so it’s an opportunity for us to grow and learn,” Smart said. “A game like this hurts. There were some tears in the locker room because guys really want to win. It’s time to be a big boy and step forward, and that goes for everyone.”

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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