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The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

Tyler Kolek scores a career-high 32 points to lead No. 9 Marquette past Villanova, 85-80

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Tyler Kolek drives to the hoop in Marquette’s 85-80 win over Villanova. (Photo courtesy of Marquette Athletics.)

Tyler Kolek shuffled down the court and put one finger to his mouth. It was a simple message to the Villanova fanbase from Marquette men’s basketball’s resident trash talker: Shhhhh.

Kolek had just scored his second straight 3-pointer to the sounds of “airball” chants coming from the Finneran Pavilion student section. The make gave the No. 9 Golden Eagles a 56-51 lead, marked a 9-0 run and forced the Wildcats to call a timeout with 11:07 left in the game.

After that, Kolek drained two more threes on consecutive possessions to lead Marquette to an 85-80 win over Villanova Tuesday night. The All-American point guard finished with a career-high 32 points, also picking up six rebounds and dishing nine assists.

“We come on the road and they’re yelling I can’t read,” Kolek said to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s Ben Steele after the game. “They’re yelling ‘Where were you January 6.’ All this (expletive). I love that stuff.”

Golden Eagles survive rollercoaster game

Marquette (16-5, 7-3 Big East) started the game up 11-0 before Villanova (11-10, 4-6 Big East) scored a single point, and held the Wildcats scoreless for over five minutes.

With 3:53 remaining in the first half, Marquette led 37-20. But Villanova went on an 11-0 run to bring the game to within 10 points and Mark Armstrong ended the half with a last second 3-pointer to cut the Golden Eagles’ lead to 39-31.

Out of the locker rooms, Villanova kept its momentum and went on a 14-0 run to completely erase Marquette’s advantage and take a 51-47 lead with 13:11 remaining in the game.

But the Golden Eagles locked in defensively — and Kolek took over — to force a kill and re-gain the upper hand. They went up by double-digits with 6:29 left.

After that, Marquette and Villanova traded runs and the closest the Wildcats got to leading was three points, but it wasn’t enough and the Golden Eagles closed out the victory from the charity stripe.

“The only thing about being up 20 (points) five minutes into the game, as good as that is, is you still have to play 35 minutes right?” Marquette head coach Shaka Smart told ESPN Milwaukee broadcasters Steve “The Homer” True and Tony Smith in a post-game radio interview.

“And at times we kind of lost sight of that, we kind of thought we had already won and Villanova took the aggressiveness advantage but we took it back. And that was a phenomenal job by our guys in the last 12 minutes of the game.”

Chase Ross returns, Kam Jones out

Sophomore guard Chase Ross returned to his sixth-man role for the first time since picking up a shoulder injury Jan. 6 at Seton Hall.

Ross came off the bench out of the first media timeout in place of sophomore forward Ben Gold — who had his first career start — and he got going immediately.

Four minutes after coming on the court, Ross pulled up from deep and hit the shot, giving Marquette an 18-4 lead. Another four minutes later, he hit another one to make it 26-9.

In the second half, after the Golden Eagles had squandered their advantage, Ross was fouled on a 3-pointer and went to the line. He sunk all three to cut the Wildcats’ lead to one point, 51-50. His free-throws flipped the game on its head and got Marquette going again.

Ross, who was officially cleared for full practice Monday, finished the night with 11 points, shooting 3-for-5 from the field and 2-for-3 from deep.

“He was phenomenal,” Smart said. “He showed a lot of guts tonight to play 31 minutes.”

After playing only five minutes against Seton Hall last Saturday, junior guard Kam Jones was listed as out with an ankle injury, leading to Gold starting.

Stevie Mitchell makes a big impact

Every year junior guard Stevie Mitchell, who is from Reading, Pennsylvania, a town just outside of Philadelphia, looks forward to playing at Villanova. It is his homecoming.

Last year at the Finn, Mitchell scored a career-high 19 points. Tuesday, he scored 12 points on 4-for-5 shooting and grabbed a team-high nine rebounds.

With 1:37 remaining and Marquette leading by four points, Mitchell had perhaps his most impactful sequence, grabbing an offensive rebound and turning it into a layup, putting the Golden Eagles ahead 77-71.

“With Sean and Kam not out there for our team. I mean, those are two engines for us that we didn’t have at our disposal tonight — so Stevie stepped forward,” Smart said.

Up next

Marquette will stay on the road to face Georgetown (8-12, 1-8 Big East) Saturday at 12 p.m. CST at Capital One Arena.

After seeing what happened tonight, Hoya fans might want to bite their tongues before trash-talking Kolek. Because if Tuesday showed one thing, it’s clear what happens when you poke the bear.

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 Contributor
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.

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