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The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

No. 17 Marquette beats St. John’s 73-72 in first Big East road win

Tyler Kolek earned his second straight double-double with 15 points and 11 assists. (Photo courtesy of Marquette Athletics.)

Marquette men’s basketball got the road win it needed. 

But it didn’t come easy.

With 6:20 left to play, the No. 17 Golden Eagles led 73-58 and were in the driver’s seat. 

From then on, Marquette’s offense made zero field goals and just two free throws for the rest of the game, while St. John’s went on a 14-2 run to get within one point. 

With 4.3 seconds left to play, the Red Storm had the final possession and gave graduate guard Daniss Jenkins the ball to take the final shot. 

But despite his efforts, the 3-pointer came up short and Marquette secured its first Big East road win — and first road win since the second week of the season — defeating St. John’s 73-72 Saturday afternoon at Madison Square Garden. 

“(I’m) just really proud of our guys for the resolve that they showed,” Marquette head coach Shaka Smart told ESPN Milwaukee broadcasters Steve “The Homer” True and Tony Smith in a post-game radio interview.

“That was our theme for the game. Resolve (is) a firm dedication to go do something. That’s obviously easier said than done, but the guys really hung in there.”

Shooting woes no more

In the first half, Marquette (13-5, 4-3 Big East) looked like the team it was two games ago, shooting 0-for-11 from deep and allowing St. John’s (12-6, 4-3 Big East) to take control of the game.

But the Golden Eagles came out of the locker room ready to attack.

Marquette started the second half by going 11-for-13 from the floor and retook the lead 51-49 at the 12:55 mark after junior guard Stevie Mitchell scored back-to-back layups.

The Johnnies fought back to tie it at 56, but the Golden Eagles weren’t finished, going on a 15-2 run in over four minutes that put them ahead by 13 points with 6:20 left to play.

“The key stretch for us was the end of the first half and the start of the second half,” Smart said. “We easily could have dropped our heads because we were 0-for-11 from three and missing some easy shots around the basket, but guys stayed connected. We got some good defensive stops.

“(We) came into the locker room a six-point game and said ‘Guys, we’re in good position, man. All things considered.’ The way that our guys started the second half, the look in their eyes really showed that they were ready to go attack.

“It’s amazing how the basketball gods reward you with making some shots. when you have the right frame of mind and are connected around the right things.”

In the final half, Marquette shot 75% from the field and 66.7% (6-for-9) from beyond the arc, while 52 of its points were scored in the paint. Seniors Tyler Kolek and Oso Ighodaro and junior forward David Joplin scored a combined 33 points.

Statistical leaders 

All of Marquette’s starters finished in double figures and Ighodaro led with 17 points and five rebounds, going 5-for-5 from the field in the second half and 8-for-10 overall.

Kolek earned his eighth career and second straight double-double with 15 points and 11 assists, while Joplin, Mitchell and Kam Jones finished with 13, 12 and 11 points respectively.

“They were huge (Mitchell and Joplin),” Smart said. “Those guys are right there along with the three you’re referring to (Oso, Kolek and Jones), especially with Chase (Ross) and Sean (Jones) being out right now. We need each guy on our team to just try to be the very best version of themself.”

For St. John’s, sophomore RJ Luis Jr. recorded 20 points and went a perfect 4-for-4 from the charity stripe in 28 minutes of action. Graduate forward Chris Ledlum earned a double-double with 13 points and 11 rebounds.

Graduate center Joel Soriano — who leads the Red Storm in scoring this season — was held to just 11 points.

Johnnies storm ahead in last minutes of first half

Marquette had a two-point lead with 7:09 left in the opening half after Kolek drove to the basket and made a layup. 

Then, St. John’s kicked it into high gear. 

Over the next 5:41, the Johnnies went on a 14-2 run with contributions from three different players to take a 34-24 lead, their largest lead at the time.

Although Mitchell would make back-to-back layups to put Marquette within six, it was St. John’s who had a six-point edge heading into the locker room. 

Despite the Golden Eagles’ defensive efforts in the half — they forced 11 turnovers and racked up seven steals — the Red Storm made up for it on the glass, winning the rebounding battle 25-14 with seven of those coming on the offensive end. 

Up next 

Marquette continues its road-stand as it faces DePaul (3-14, 0-6 Big East) Wednesday at Wintrust Arena. Tip-off is scheduled for 8 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
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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