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Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

No. 5 Marquette, without Kolek and Ighodaro, shows fight in loss to No. 12 Creighton

Kam Jones led Marquette with 23 points in its loss to Creighton. (Photo courtesy of Marquette Athletics.)

No. 5 Marquette men’s basketball knew it wasn’t going to be easy.

After all, it was without two of its best players, seniors Tyler Kolek and Oso Ighodaro, playing against No. 12 Creighton — on its Senior Day — in front of a hostile white-out crowd of 18,011 on the road.

The Golden Eagles stuck with the Bluejays for most of the game, going into the locker room trailing by two and staying within striking distance for a majority of the second half.

But as Creighton (22-8, 13-6 Big East) turned up the heat in the final minutes, it eventually proved to be too tall a task for Marquette (22-7, 13-5 Big East) as it was defeated 89-75 Saturday afternoon at CHI Health Center.

“Our guys’ effort, connectivity, willingness to pour into each other, to keep fighting (and) keep believing was excellent today,” Marquette head coach Shaka Smart told ESPN Milwaukee broadcasters Steve “The Homer” True and Tony Smith in a post-game radio interview.

“We ran out of steam a little bit at the very end, but man, a three-point game with six minutes left? In this environment on their Senior Day? With the team they have and the guys we’re missing? I’d take that any day of the week.”

This marked the Bluejays’ first victory over the Golden Eagles since March 10, 2022, after Marquette earned the season-sweep to help clinch its Big East regular season title with a 73-71 comeback win Feb 21, 2023.

Golden Eagles fall apart in final minutes

It was a two-point game with 4:26 left to play.

Senior guard Baylor Scheierman sat in the left corner, waiting for senior guard Steven Ashworth to pass him the ball. Once he did, Scheierman didn’t waste a second, pulling up from deep and watching the ball go through the net to give Creighton a 72-67 lead.

The Bluejays then scored 3-pointers on their next two possessions as part of a 20-8 run that put Marquette away for good.

“Our guys hung in there,” Smart said. “We absolutely got tired at times because we have human beings on our team. Stevie Mitchell is like a sprinter trying to run a marathon in a game like that where he plays that many minutes.

“He fought and he battled, and he played his butt off — he almost had a double-double. Fatigue gets to all of us at times.”

Mitchell finished with a season-high 15 points and tied a career-high nine rebounds. Smart also said he was proud of the way sophomore guard Ben Gold — who earned seven points and six boards in 37 minutes — played.

“That’s by far the most he’s played,” Smart said. “He fought, he scrapped, he battled. Didn’t have his best shooting day, but man, I told the guys, ‘There’s no half shots. If you shoot it, let it fly.'”

On the other hand, four of the Bluejays finished in double figures, and Scheierman led the way with 26 points and 16 rebounds, marking his 14th double-double of the season.

Bluejays’ shoot hot from deep 

Creighton’s string of late threes to secure the win was a microcosm of the entire afternoon.

The Bluejays — who came into the game leading the Big East in 3-point shooting (36.4%) — was hitting deep looks from the get-go.

Scheierman hit his first triple at the 15:44 mark to put his team ahead 9-7, then hit two more before going into the locker room. Junior guard Trey Alexander joined in on the action, hitting back-to-back threes to extend the Bluejays’ advantage, 28-21.

Although the Golden Eagles cut the deficit to 42-40 at halftime, the Bluejays shot 50% (8-for-16) from deep in the opening 20 minutes and 41% (13-for-22) from deep overall. 

“As hard as our guys fought and played, a lot of today’s game comes down to they shot the ball better than we did,” Smart said. “Now, our job on defense is to make them miss. We didn’t do a good enough job of that.”

Scheierman finished with a game-high six 3-pointers, and was backed up by Alexander, Mason Miller and Fran Farabello, who all hit 2 threes.

Kolek and Ighodaro ruled out before game 

Before the game, it was announced that Kolek (oblique) and Ighodaro (illness) would not be available for Marquette.

Kolek — who suffered the injury in Marquette’s 91-69 win over Providence Wednesday — didn’t travel with the team and Ighodaro watched the game at the team’s hotel.

It marked the first time in 96 games — the last game being the 2020-21 season finale — that both seniors were not able to play for the Golden Eagles.

“Oso really, really wanted to go, but he had a spike in his temperature and was literally not able to go…” Smart said.

Smart said Kolek is already feeling better, but there is no timetable for his return.

Up next

Marquette will travel back to Milwaukee to take on No. 3 UConn (25-3, 15-2 Big East) in its final home game. Last time out, the Golden Eagles were routed by the Huskies 81-53 on the road. 

“As our guys showed today, whoever we have in a Marquette uniform, we’re going to fight and battle and be connected as any group in the country,” 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
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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