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Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

Kam Jones scores career-high 31 points in 91-57 win over Georgetown

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Junior guard Kam Jones scored a career-high 31 points in Marquette’s 91-57 win over Georgetown. (Photo courtesy of Marquette Athletics.)

This morning, Marquette men’s basketball head coach Shaka Smart wasn’t sure if Kam Jones — who missed last game after tweaking his right ankle — was going to be able to take the floor.

“We did a walkthrough at the hotel, and I didn’t even put him out there in the starting group or as we were walking through any of Georgetown’s stuff,” Smart told ESPN Milwaukee broadcasters Steve “The Homer” True and Tony Smith in a post-game radio interview.

“He just didn’t look like he was moving great as of yesterday.”

But despite Smart’s initial doubts, Jones started and scored a career-high 31 points — shooting 7-for-9 from deep — to lead the No. 9 Golden Eagles past the Hoyas, 91-57, Saturday at Capital One Arena.

“We know he’s capable, and every time he jumps up and shoots it, we think it’s going in,” Smart said. “Just happy that he was out there tonight, saw the ball go in. He had a really good rhythm, the way he was attacking. (He) didn’t force anything, and obviously to shoot 80% from the field is huge.”

Breaking the game open

With 10 minutes left to play in the first half, Georgetown (8-13, 1-9 Big East) was within six points. 

Then Marquette’s (17-5, 8-3 Big East) offense showed up.

Senior guard Tyler Kolek slipped by a defender and made a layup, kicking off a 19-6 run over six minutes that put his team ahead 39-20. The Golden Eagles hit four 3-pointers in the run with half of them coming from junior forward David Joplin.

“You have a 40-minute game, and you want to stay connected of the course of the whole game, but at the same time, you want to go on a run,” Smart said.

“You want to send a message particularly when the other team’s at home because the longer a team’s at home feeling good about themselves and feeling like they’ve got a really good chance, the harder they’re going to play and the more plays they’re going to make.”

The Golden Eagles went into the locker room leading by 22 after shooting 50% from deep and 51.6% overall.

After outscoring Georgetown 47-35 in the second half, Marquette coasted to its sixth-straight victory with Kolek (17), Joplin (15) and senior forward Oso Ighodaro (10) all finishing in double figures along with Jones — who scored 23 of his points in the final 20 minutes.

“I’m hard on Jop,” Smart said. “He’s a really talented guy, and what we’re trying to do with all these guys is just continue to find ways to actualize every ounce of what they have inside of them.

“We’re not all the way there yet with Jop, we’re not all the way there yet with our whole team, but I’m proud of the way these guys have handled this stretch.”

In its last six games, Marquette is shooting 54.2% from the field, 40.8% from deep and is forcing 12.6 turnovers a game.

Havoc defense on display

While its offense controlled the game, Marquette’s defense was also on display, something that Smart emphasized specifically for this game.

In the first half, the Golden Eagles forced 11 turnovers and turned them into 21 points. Overall, Marquette earned 35 points off 19 turnovers compared to Georgetown’s five, which marked its highest total since recording 38 against Southern Nov. 28.

“We really put a big premium on getting our hands on the basketball in this game – we always do — but particularly in this game, we thought we could be disruptive,” Smart said. “The guys got a high number of deflections, we got our eight kills and that’s the recipe for going on the road and winning…

“You always take things one game at a time, but we did know that we had four out of five games on the road. The way that the guys have approached that has been huge.”

Up next

Marquette returns home to celebrate National Marquette Day and face St. John’s (13-9, 5-6 Big East) Saturday at 5 p.m. CST. The Golden Eagles grabbed its first Big East road win against the Red Storm, 73-72, Jan. 20.

“It’s essential for us to go seven days without playing that we maintain our urgency towards all the things that go into being successful,” Smart said.

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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