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The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

No. 6 Marquette’s offense comes alive in 81-51 win over Georgetown

Guards Chase Ross and Tre Norman give each other a chest-bump in No. 6 Marquette’s 81-51 win over Georgetown. (Photo courtesy of Marquette Athletics.)

At the start of the game, No. 6 Marquette men’s basketball looked like the team that got routed by Providence just three days ago. The Hoyas had the upper hand, scoring in their first three possessions, while the Golden Eagles had only four points in four minutes.

Six minutes in, sophomore forward Ben Gold checked in and flipped the switch for his team’s offense.

His first made 3-pointer kickstarted a 7-0 run in which the Golden Eagles gained their first lead of the night, forcing Hoyas head coach Ed Cooley to call a timeout. Out of the break, Gold drained two more.

“Gold came in and made three 3’s,” Cooley said on how Georgetown lost its early momentum. “That was game, set, match, and that’s something that we spoke about. That’s something that we prepared for. Our inability to communicate, our bad coaching did that.”

That string of 3-pointers turned into a 26-6 extended run and 17-point halftime lead, from which Marquette (10-3, 1-1 Big East) never looked back as it defeated Georgetown (7-6, 0-2 Big East) 81-51 Friday night at Fiserv Forum.

“Our theme for the game was collective response,” Marquette head coach Shaka Smart said. “It wasn’t so much that we lost on Tuesday. We just didn’t feel like ourselves. There’s a lot of stuff that went into preparing for tonight’s game.

“There was some conversation between different guys in our coaching staff and on our team that was sometimes heated… but it’s good, it’s what’s needed. We need to be able to come together around adversity and challenges.”

Responding after Tuesday

Marquette shot 53.3% from the field and 45% from beyond the arc in the opening frame, much improved from its 38% overall clip and 22% from deep against Providence. The Golden Eagles also had four more assists at halftime (11) than they had in the entire game against the Friars (7).

“I told the guys in the locker room tonight (that) it probably won’t be the last time we lose,” Smart said about Tuesday’s loss. “The ability to respond is critical. Then hopefully, we can continue to learn lessons through wins like tonight.”

It was more of the same in the second half as the Golden Eagles went on a 24-4 run coming out of the locker room with contributions from five different players. Marquette finished with 22 assists on the night, one shy of matching a season-best.

“We were a lot more connected tonight,” Smart said. “(We were) a lot more clear just in understanding how to play the game and and how to help each other play the game together. It’s not one-on-one. It’s a unit out there on the offensive end and the defensive end.

“The way we play goes a lot beyond these individual statistics on this page right here. There’s so many things that are not laid out here that affect what we do. Our guys had a willingness — starting with Tyler — to create for one another and share with one another.”

The Golden Eagles finished shooting 44% from the floor and 34.5% from deep.

Home sweet home 

Tonight’s 30-point victory not only marked Marquette’s first conference win of the season, but also marked its 18th-straight win at Fiserv, the fourth-longest active home win-streak in the nation. The last time the Golden Eagles lost at home was in overtime against in-state rivals Wisconsin Dec. 3, 2022. 

“I loved the atmosphere tonight. (I) was grateful,” Smart said. “I’ve gotten in the habit of — during the opening introduction — they play that long video … I take a moment, and I look into the stands, and I see the ’77, and I see Hank Raymonds, and I see Doc Rivers and Bo Ellis.

“I’m just like ‘Man, I’m really grateful to be in these guys’ arena.’… It’s incumbent upon us to appreciate what we have now. This was an awesome holiday crowd.”

Statistical leaders

Junior forward David Joplin led the way for Marquette, finishing with a season-high 20 points and nine rebounds while going 4-for-7 from beyond the arc.

“(I) was proud of David Joplin,” Smart said. “I really got on him coming into this game about rebounding and challenged him. I just feel like he could do more than he had done on the glass through 12 games. He matched his total offensive rebounds in 28 minutes tonight … It’s amazing how that carries over to other aspects of your game.”

Senior guard Tyler Kolek earned a double-double of 13 points and 10 assists while senior forward Ighodaro also netted 13 points. First-year guard Tre Norman grabbed a career-high six rebounds.

For Georgetown, the lone double-digit scorers were sophomore guard Jayden Epps — who finished with 14 points — and junior guard Dontrez Styles — who recorded 12 points.

Up next

Following Christmas break, Marquette will close out its two-game homestand against No. 12 Creighton (9-3, 0-1 Big East) Dec. 30 at 1 p.m. CST. 

This story 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
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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