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Marquette Wire

Mitchell and Gold help No. 5 Marquette down Providence 91-69, but Tyler Kolek leaves early with oblique injury

Marquette+in+its+91-69+win+over+Providence.+
Photo by Forster Goodrich
Marquette in its 91-69 win over Providence.

The Stevie Mitchell effect was on full display.

All his harassing. All his swarming. All his intangibles. All his necessary points.

Everything that the junior guard brings — that Marquette men’s basketball was unable to bear the fruits of during its 72-57 loss at Providence in December — was present Wednesday night at Fiserv Forum.

And the No. 5 Golden Eagles (22-6, 13-4 Big East) benefited from it in their revenge-game 91-69 thrashing of the Friars (18-10, 9-8 Big East).

“Having Stevie in there, it sets a tone for us. It gives us a real confidence on the defensive end,” Marquette head coach Shaka Smart said. “He can really really fight and make things challenging on whoever we put him on.”

Along with his defense, Mitchell also made a big impact on the offensive side early into the game.

He got started immediately with a layup less than a minute into the game, and then he followed it up with another layup and a 3-pointer to give the Golden Eagles a quick 10-3 lead.

He started the game 3-for-3 from the field and 1-for-1 from deep before missing a shot and went into into the locker room with 12 points, seven off his career-high of 19.

“Same Stevie Mitchell,” sophomore guard Chase Ross said. “The dog, a hound. Anything you need from him, he’s going to do it, I mean offense and defense.”

Marquette’s defense helps gain early lead

The game was never in doubt after the Golden Eagles took a fast 22-4 lead before the under-12 media timeout.

Mitchell played a big role in that early run, harassing the Friars and opening the game with a skunk — which is six consecutive defensive stops. The Golden Eagles then forced a second skunk before the 10-minute mark in the half.

“We tried to really, really be one unit, five guys guarding the ball,” Smart said. “I think that tonight our guys did a phenomenal job of that the first half, not as good in the second half. But, first half, probably as good as a half as we’ve had defensively.”

Providence finished the first half shooting 9-for-25 (36%) from the field and 5-for-14 (35.7%) from deep, and trailed 50-26 going into the locker room.

“We’ve just been locking in on the smaller details in practice now,” Ross, who finished with 12 points, said. “We actually do this one drill where it’s imaginary, we’re playing defense on imaginary players.

“So I feel like that’s translating to the game, helping us move on the ball, and just helping out each other guard as five.”

Ben Gold plays important defensive role

Sophomore forward Ben Gold played an important role on defense for Marquette alongside Mitchell.

Gold’s versatility was on display outside the paint whenever the Golden Eagles double-teamed, and he stood like a tree that couldn’t be moved inside the paint.

Providence’s Jayden Pierre went for a layup. He was promptly denied. Then Josh Oduro attempted to get around the 6-foot-11 New Zealand native twice. Both times ended the same, with a Friar turnover and Gold shutting him away from the basket.

“Ben Gold defensively for us was was a star and he was terrific on the defensive end,” Smart said. “It’s funny because he probably, for most of his life as a basketball player, has hung his hat on offense and shooting. He’s a skilled guy.

“But, man, he was special on defense today and I was really impressed by that.”

Gold finished with a game-high three blocks and two steals, also scoring six points on 2-for-4 shooting from deep.

Tyler Kolek leaves early with oblique injury

Senior guard Tyler Kolek left the game with an injury to his oblique area with 12:32 remaining in the game. Smart said he twisted his body when making pass and he went to the trainers after the game.

“I don’t know exactly the extent of his injury, but he went out there, and he wasn’t able to stay in the game,” Smart said. “So he’s getting checked out right now.”

Up next

Marquette travels to Omaha to face No. 12 Creighton (21-8, 12-6 Big East) Saturday at the CHI Health Center. Tip-off is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. CST.

“The key for us is being there for one another. And having a genuine belief in each other and in what we’re trying to do, even amidst the circumstances and the twists and turns,” Smart said.

“Going there and winning is a heck of a challenge. We know that. We have to literally take it one play at a time. ”

But Kolek’s health is key.

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, 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, 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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