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The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

No. 11 Golden Eagles continue to struggle in 69-62 defeat to Butler

Tyler Kolek (11) drives to the hoop in No. 11 Marquette’s 69-62 loss to Butler. (Photo courtesy of Marquette Athletics.)

Things have gone from bad to worse for No. 11 Marquette men’s basketball.

After losing their third straight road game and their sixth man Chase Ross, the Golden Eagles returned home to Fiserv Forum — a place they hadn’t lost at in over a year — hoping to find their rhythm again.

However, despite playing on its home court, Marquette (11-5, 2-3 Big East) continued its recent offensive struggles — shooting 24-for-73 (32.9%) from the field and 5-for-31 (16%) from deep — and fell to the Butler Bulldogs (11-5, 2-3 Big East) 69-62 Wednesday night.

“(It’s) a really strange and disappointing game…” Marquette head coach Shaka Smart said. “It was very unlike us (in) our response to what was happening on the floor.

“We pride ourselves on trying to have a mentality where regardless of circumstances, we’re connected around each other and committed to responding, and we did a poor job of that tonight.”

The loss ends the Golden Eagles’ 19-game winning streak at Fiserv and a 20-game winning streak at home versus conference opponents. Marquette’s three defeats through five Big East games matches its total amount of conference losses from its 2022-23 title-winning regular season.

Poor shooting allows Butler to mount second-half comeback 

At halftime, Marquette held a seven-point lead. Seven minutes into the second half, Butler grabbed the advantage and never looked back.

While the Golden Eagles struggled to score to start the half, the Bulldogs went on a 24-7 extended run in the span of over six minutes, shooting 69% from the floor and 80% from beyond the arc. In that run, seven different players scored and Butler took a 52-42 lead.

Meanwhile, Marquette shot 27% from the field with only two Golden Eagles getting on the scoresheet.

“We have to figure out how to free these guys’ minds in the game because for whatever reason, there’s something taking them out of the present moment,” Smart said. “We’re shooting with avoidance and that’s a big domino right now.

“We got really tentative at times on offense because guys didn’t know if they were going to be able to shoot it … Butler sensed that and anytime you get more tentative, the other team gets more aggressive.”

Butler got out to its largest lead with 3:41 remaining when sophomore guard Landon Moore scored the Bulldogs’ 10th 3-pointer of the night, making the score 62-49 and effectively putting the game away.

Sean Jones leaves game early with injury

After losing Ross against Seton Hall to a shoulder injury, Marquette’s depth took another hit after sophomore guard Sean Jones suffered a right knee injury in the second half while driving to the hoop. 

Jones had to be helped off the court and couldn’t put any weight on his knee while exiting the game.

Smart said that Jones will get an MRI tomorrow to determine the official results.

“Don’t have anything official, but it looks like Sean sustained a knee injury,” Smart said. “Right now, (we’re) trying to be there for him and help him understand that regardless of the results, there’s a pathway forward.”

Before the game, Marquette announced that Ross will be evaluated again later in the month for his shoulder injury. With Jones and Ross now injured, the Golden Eagles’ bench is even shorter.

Kam Jones dominates in first half

Junior guard Kam Jones only scored 13 points in Saturday’s loss to Seton Hall, but he did not let that statline define him Wednesday.

The Memphis, Tennessee native found his groove early, scoring his team’s first six points with three consecutive layups. He was up to 13 points at the 11:37 mark and finished the first half with 17 points while shooting a perfect 8-for-8 from inside the arc and 66.6% overall.

“His first half was awesome,” Smart said. “He was doing a great job of getting to his left hand on a spin and he was really poised taking his time… (The) guy is one of the best shooters I’ve ever coached.”

Not only did he lead his team in scoring in the opening 20 minutes, but Jones also surpassed 1,000 collegiate career points. 

He finished with 20 points in 34 minutes of action.

Statistical leaders

Behind Jones, senior forward Oso Ighodaro recorded 12 points and grabbed nine rebounds. Mitchell also earned 10 points and eight rebounds with a team-high of four steals.

In Marquette’s last two losses, senior guard Tyler Kolek — who scored just two points tonight — has gone a combined 2-for-19 from the floor with six turnovers.

“The biggest thing that he needs to do, and we need to do, I need to help him with, is understanding that certain things are not going to be made easy for you,” Smart said.

For Butler, four players finished in double figures with Brooks and Moore each finishing with 14 points. Fifth year center Jalen Thomas earned a double-double with 10 points and a game-high 14 rebounds.

Up next 

Marquette will finish out its two-game homestand against Villanova (10-5, 3-1 Big East) Monday at 1:30 p.m. CST. 

This article was written by Kaylynn Wright. She can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter/X @KaylynnWrightMU. 

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About the Contributor
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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