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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. 17 Golden Eagles’ three stars propel team to much-needed victory, 87-74

Photo by Forster Goodrich
Tyler Kolek earned a double-double of 21 points and 11 assists in No. 17 Marquette’s 87-74 win over Villanova.

Just how valuable No. 17 Marquette men’s basketball’s big three are was on full display Monday.

The Golden Eagles came into their matinee against Villanova on a two-game losing streak, and had their first test without sophomore guards Chase Ross and Sean Jones. So Kam Jones, Tyler Kolek and Oso Ighodaro stepped up.

Behind their combined 61 points, 18 rebounds and 20 assists, Marquette (12-5, 3-3 Big East) stopped its downward spiral and beat Villanova (11-6, 4-2 Big East) 87-74 at Fiserv Forum.

“When those three play well together, our chances of winning go way up,” Marquette head coach Shaka Smart said.

The trio got it going immediately with Ighodaro getting three straight alley-oop dunks, all assisted by Kolek.

Jones scored seven straight points in the second half off two layups and a 3-pointer to keep Villanova at bay, and finished with 22 points, shooting 10-for-12 from the field and 2-for-4 from deep.

Kolek ended his 3-pointer drought with 2:27 remaining to give the Golden Eagles a 77-68 lead.

“It’s no secret that they’re three of our main guys that we need,” junior guard Stevie Mitchell said. “Just having confidence in them and helping them continue to have confidence in themselves, regardless of what stress they may go through.

“Just because of what they’ve been able to do up to this point and who we know they are, what they’re capable of. It was just great to see.

“It wasn’t a surprise for any of us because we know how great all three of them are, but just (to) get to see them put it on display, I was happy for them.”

Zaide Lowery scores two big baskets in the first half

Lowery knew that he would have to step up on Monday with the injuries to Chase Ross and Sean Jones. It didn’t phase him one bit.

“The first time I saw that Sean went down, everybody, was like ‘be ready,'” Lowery said. “They (teammates) just told me to be ready because with them being hurt, I got to go in there and be able to step up.”

Lowery finished with six points, scoring all of them off two big 3-pointers in the first half. His makes kickstarted a 12-0 Marquette run, which gave the Golden Eagles a 39-33 lead and propelled them to a 43-40 advantage at halftime.

“I’m really happy for him. And it (3-pointers) really came on time for our team,” Smart said. “I feel like I’ve known the guy for a long time. And when I first got to know him, he didn’t have the intestinal fortitude to come in the game and do what he did today. …

“Zaide, he’s just grown a lot to be able to be sturdy enough, tough enough to put him on some of those (Villanova) guys and for him to hang in there and play pretty well.”

Offense was flowing again, Kolek bounces back after rough stretch of games

Marquette’s offense was back to looking like its normal self.

The Golden Eagles finished 37-for-63 (58.7%) from the field, scoring 60 points in the paint and making 75% (30-for-40) of its 2-pointers. They also earned 24 assists while committing only three turnovers.

“We only shot 30% from three,” Smart said. “We didn’t shoot as many threes as Villanova but I thought the guys understood, ‘Hey, we can drive, we can get into paint. Let’s continue to do that.'”

Kolek also looked like the All-American he is.

After a rough shooting stretch over the two straight losses, he was able to finish with a double-double of 21 points and 11 assists.

“It’s been it’s been a lot about reflection on his part,” Smart said. “A lot of conversations with different members of our program, coaches, players. The most important conversations are amongst the guys coming together.”

Up next

Marquette will travel to New York to face the St. John’s Red Storm (12-5, 4-2 Big East) Saturday at Madison Square Garden. Tip-off is scheduled for 11 a.m. CST.

The Golden Eagles are 0-2 in Big East road games and have lost three straight away matches.

“We talk about kills a whole bunch, but on the road, we haven’t had many kills,” Lowery said. “That’s something we do need to carry over and I’ll say again, just playing together and trusting each other. That’s just a big part of what we do and talk about every day.”

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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