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Marquette Wire

MUBB-Providence takeaways: Defense set the tone, Marquette shared the wealth, Kolek’s injury

Tyler+Kolek+left+Marquettes+win+over+Providence+early+with+an+oblique+injury.
Photo by Forster Goodrich
Tyler Kolek left Marquette’s win over Providence early with an oblique injury.

No. 5 Marquette men’s basketball (22-6, 13-4 Big East) came into Wednesday night with the goal to play “Our Way,” passing out championship blue shirts with those words before tip.

And the Golden Eagles did exactly that in their revenge win over Providence, 91-69, at Fiserv Forum.

Here are three takeaways from the victory:

Defense set an early tone

The Golden Eagles started the game with a skunk — which is what they call six straight defensive stops.

It wasn’t until the 16:20 mark of the first half that Providence scored a point. At the under-12 media timeout, the Friars had only four points on 1-for-7 shooting and trailed by 18 points.

“I felt like our defense was a game changer,” sophomore guard Chase Ross said. “It took them out of what they wanted to do and it fueled our offense.” 

Junior guard Stevie Mitchell — who didn’t play in Marquette’s last game at Providence in December — was important to the Golden Eagles’ early advantage and used the defense-to-offense to his advantage. He had 10 points in the first nine minutes on 4-for-4 shooting, including two 3-pointers.

“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.

The Friars finished the first half shooting 36% from the field and 35.7% from deep, and the Golden Eagles held a 50-26 lead going into the locker room.

Everyone got a piece of the pie

It was a well-rounded performance for the Golden Eagles, who ended with five different players in double figures. 

Kam Jones led the way with 17 points, followed by David Joplin who scored 13. Tyler Kolek, Mitchell and Ross all put up 12.

“I think our guys have really been together,” Smart said. “We believe that our biggest advantage as a program is the relationships we have and the way that our guys feel about each other. And they did a great job of that tonight.”

First-year guard Tre Norman also played 18 important minutes. He finished with eight points, including two 3-pointers.

“He played with confidence,” Smart said. “As a freshman you’re going to go through your ups and downs, but to continue to believe in yourself is the biggest key, and I thought he did that tonight.”

Kolek’s oblique injury is unnerving 

Kolek left the game with an oblique injury with just over 12 minutes remaining.

Before exiting for good, he went into the tunnel with trainers at the 15:12 mark. Then he checked back into the game, attempted a pass and left and went to the locker room. He didn’t return.

“He said that he made a pass and kind of twisted his body and he just felt it,” Smart said. “I didn’t see it when it happened. But he’s with the training staff now.”

Marquette has an important matchup at No. 12 Creighton Saturday before hosting No. 3 UConn next Wednesday, and then March is right around the corner. Those are all games in which the Golden Eagles will need their starting point guard to be healthy.

This article was written by Raquel Ruiz. She can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter/X @RaquelRuizMU.

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About the Contributors
Raquel Ruiz, Sports Reporter
Raquel Ruiz is a first-year student from Mundelein, Illinois studying digital media and is a Sports Reporter for the Marquette Wire for the 2023-2024 school year. Outside of the Wire, she enjoys playing volleyball, volunteering in her local community, spending time with friends and family and binge-watching tv shows. She is excited to learn from different people and explore what it is like to be a journalist in the media field.
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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