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Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

No. 10 Marquette stages comeback in 72-67 win over No. 22 Creighton

Photo by Forster Goodrich
Sean Jones scored a career-high 15 points in Marquette’s 72-67 win over Creighton.

No. 10 Marquette men’s basketball showed exactly what it can do. Find a way to win.

When its 3-point dependent offense started the game 0-for-8 from beyond the arc, its gritty defense was there to force 12 turnovers in the first half against a Creighton team that averaged 10.8 turnovers per game.

When it had to find a way to mitigate Baylor Scheierman’s early lights-out shooting and keep it close, it went on a 12-2 run to tie the game 26-26 and trail only 30-28 at halftime.

When it needed a second-half spark, in walked sophomore guard Sean Jones with game-altering back-to-back 3-pointers to mark a 52-48 lead and erupt Fiserv Forum.

When needing to keep the fighting Bluejays at bay in the winding minutes, look no further than junior forward David Joplin, who drilled two clutch 3-pointers before putting the cherry on top with his first-career dunk.

Marquette had to ice the game at the free-throw line? Tyler Kolek went 4-for-4 from the charity stripe in the final 14 seconds.

The Golden Eagles needed to find a way to dominate the glass against reigning Big East Defensive Player of the Year Ryan Kalkbrenner, and it was Oso Ighodaro who turned into a swat machine with 16 rebounds, a career-high nine of them coming on the offensive glass.

Everything came together for the Golden Eagles (11-3, 2-1 Big East) Saturday against the Bluejays, and it wasn’t pretty, came with its faults and looked downright ugly at times, but it was enough.

Enough to down No. 22 Creighton (9-4, 0-2 Big East) 72-67, enough to stay above .500 in conference play and enough to extend its Fiserv win-streak to 19 straight games in front of a sell-out record 18,086 rowdy fans.

“The crowd was phenomenal. Our theme for the game was multipliers. We really wanted our guys to multiply each other,” Marquette head coach Shaka Smart told ESPN Milwaukee broadcasters Steve “The Homer” True and Tony Smith in a post-game radio interview.

“I told them, I said if you play with a level of passion and excitement for what goes into winning, the crowd will be a multiplier for us.”

Sean Jones has career game

Jones — who came into Saturday with only four 3-pointers on the year and shooting 14.3% from deep — took full advantage of Creighton leaving him unguarded from beyond the arc.

Along with his back-to-back 3-pointers in the second half, he scored the Golden Eagles’ first 3-pointer of the game to cut the Bluejays’ early lead to 14-8.

The sophomore guard finished with a career-high 15 points on 3-for-5 shooting from beyond the arc in just 12 minutes. He scored his previous career-high of 12 points in the second half alone.

“He can be playing and you know, doing some decent things and then all of a sudden, he can just give you a huge burst of two, three minutes where he just changes the game in a major way,” Smart said. “And that absolutely happened today.”

Finding alternative ways to win

The Golden Eagles’ two-point halftime deficit came after they ended the opening period 3-for-20 (15%) from beyond the arc and 10-for-36 (27.8%) overall.

The reason it was so close? Defense — the Smart staple — and rebounding, something Marquette has struggled with a lot in its three losses.

The Golden Eagles forced 18 turnovers in the game, which resulted in 24 points. They also grabbed 18 offensive rebounds as a team, which resulted in 18 second-chance points.

“We talk about, you have to play with a level of desperation when the ball is not going in,” Smart said. “And you got to do that on defense, and you certainly have to do that on the offensive glass.

“We needed every one of those offensive rebounds because we actually got a lot of the shots we want all game long, we just didn’t make many.”

Luckily for Marquette, the shots eventually started falling and it went 6-for-11 from deep in the second half.

Mitchell makes impact upon return

Junior guard Stevie Mitchell came back to the starting lineup after missing four straight games with a hamstring injury.

He finished with seven points and four rebounds in 19 minutes. In the second half, Mitchell hit two key 3-pointers after starting the game 0-for-3 from deep.

“For those guys (Mitchell and Jones) to make five threes out of 10 attempts combined, really is the difference along with a lot of other things that our guys contributed,” Smart said, “but I appreciate those guys’ mental toughness to step forward.”

Statistical leaders

Kolek put up 15 points, eight assists and three steals. Junior guard Kam Jones scored 12 on 5-for-14 shooting.

For Creighton, Scheierman finished with 23 points on 7-for-13 shooting from deep. He also earned eight boards and dished out two assists. Trey Alexander was the only other Bluejay to finish with double-digit points, scoring 18.

Up next

Marquette will head to Newark, New Jersey to face the Seton Hall Pirates (8-5, 1-1 Big East) Saturday, Jan. 6 at the Prudential Center in its first game of 2024. Tip-off is scheduled for 11 a.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 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.
Forster Goodrich
Forster Goodrich, Staff Photographer
Forster Goodrich is a sophomore from Lyme, New Hampshire studying digital media. Forster works on the photography desk as a Staff Photographer. Outside of the Wire, he is on the club waterski team, and enjoys everything outdoors. He is looking forward to the upcoming basketball season and getting to photograph games at Fiserv Forum.

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