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The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

No. 4 Marquette up to eight straight wins after 78-72 victory at Butler

Oso Ighodaro finished Marquette’s win at Butler with a double-double of 17 points and 10 rebounds. (Photo courtesy of Marquette Athletics.)

Tyler Kolek did it again.

With Butler within two points, the All-American point guard – who scored 17 of his 27 points in the final half — welcomed the pressure, taking a quick dribble and sinking a 3-pointer to put his team ahead by six with 1:32 to go.

“The three that Tyler hit was huge,” Marquette head coach Shaka Smart told ESPN Milwaukee broadcasters Steve “The Homer” True and Tony Smith in a post-game radio interview.

“We wanted to run an action where we had a lot of movement. It loosened them up a little bit.”

He would sink four more free throws in his second straight 20+ point game to seal the deal for the No. 4 Golden Eagles (19-5, 10-3 Big East), as they defeated the Bulldogs (16-9, 7-7 Big East) 78-72 Tuesday night at Hinkle Fieldhouse. 

“He’s always motivated, but he’s even more motivated to be his best,” Smart said in the post-game press conference. “When you get to this time of year, your senior year, you know that it’s go time… He did a great job leading for our team despite the fact there were some frustrating plays for him.”

This is Marquette’s eighth straight victory, its longest Big East regular season winning streak with Smart at the helm. 

Ighodaro and Jones step up in final half

Although he was not the leader on the score sheet, senior forward Oso Ighodaro also rose to the occasion.

The Chandler, Arizona native scored 13 of his 17 points in the final 20 minutes while also grabbing 10 rebounds, marking his fourth double-double of the season.

“With Oso, how many guys can switch every pick-and-roll, go get a double-double, handle the ball on offense in pick-and-rolls attacking the basket, catch a lob when he’s the screener and then just be such a utility man like he is doing so many little things?” Smart said.

“He’s such a swiss army knife for him. He’s one of a kind. I haven’t coached anyone like him. He’s very unique. Our biggest battle is continuing to get him to understand how good he is.”

Despite being in foul trouble for most of the game, junior guard Kam Jones — who finished with 11 points — banked in a key 3-pointer to hold off Butler in the final minutes of the game.

“Kam Jones had really, really good energy, that was huge for us,” Smart said. “He had foul trouble the whole game, (but) he didn’t let it affect him. His spirit and his energy was terrific.

“I told him afterwards, ‘The basketball gods let you bank that three when your energy is in the right place.”

Controlling the paint 

When the shots weren’t falling from deep, Marquette attacked the basket and found success, just like it did in its 87-74 win over Villanova Jan. 15. 

It was a back-and-forth affair to start, but the Golden Eagles created separation after going on a 14-4 run where four different players scored layups to give them an 18-11 lead with 11:20 to play.

Although Butler fought back, Marquette won the paint battle 24-10 and went into the locker room with a two-point edge.  

“We wanted to live in the paint for sure,” Smart said. “We felt like we could get some good stuff going in there. We felt like we could get to the foul line, which we didn’t much until the end…

“They had a good plan in the standpoint of, ‘We’re going to make you finish around the basket, we’re going to make you play one-on-one or two-on-two. It did allow us to get in the paint a lot, and when we were able to finish, it was great for us… That’s a recipe for winning.”

The Golden Eagles finished with 46 paint points compared to the Bulldogs’ 20.

Up next

Marquette will close out its road trip by facing No. 1 UConn Saturday at the XL Center in a top 5 matchup. Tip-off is scheduled for 2 p.m. CST.

The Golden Eagles are 1-0 this season in games against the highest-ranked team in the country after they beat the Kansas Jayhawks 73-59 in the Maui Invitational.

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 junior from Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin studying journalism, and she is an Assistant Sports Editor for the 2024-2025 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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