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Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

No. 8 Golden Eagles fall to hot-shooting Huskies, 74-67

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Photo by Forster Goodrich
Oso Ighodaro finished with 16 points and eight rebounds on his Senior Night.

Oso Ighodaro sat at the Fiserv Forum media room table minutes removed from Marquette men’s basketball’s — and his — final game inside the place they call home.

It wasn’t the way he wanted his Senior Night to go, and he wasn’t hiding his feelings. 

“We just really wanted to go out there and win this game,” the senior forward said.

Ighodaro was honored before the game alongside guard Tyler Kolek, who didn’t play because of an oblique injury he picked up last week.

What transpired once the flowers were put away and the pre-game festivities stopped wasn’t the get-back, cherry-on-top, go-out-with-a-bang victory Ighodaro and the rest of the No. 8 Golden Eagles had their minds set on accomplishing.

It was a hard-fought seven-point defeat at the hands of No. 2 UConn, 74-67, in which the Huskies ran the boards and shot the lights out of the building. 

“Our guys fought,” Marquette head coach Shaka Smart said. “Right now with who we have, we’ve got to play a little bit different than when Tyler (Kolek) was playing, and I thought we got away from who we needed to be on the offensive end.”

Golden Eagles can’t slow down Huskies’ offense

Every time Marquette (22-8, 13-6 Big East) looked to make some headway, UConn (27-3, 17-2 Big East) responded with force.

The Golden Eagles pieced together a 12-0 run at the start of the game to take a 12-5 lead, then the Huskies responded scoring eight straight points to regain the advantage.

In the second half, first-year guard Tre Norman got an and-one layup to cut UConn’s lead to seven points, 59-52. Cam Spencer and Alex Karaban answered immediately with a jumper and a three to give the Huskies another double-digit lead. 

When Golden Eagles junior forward David Joplin made it a five point game, 72-67, with 56 seconds remaining, Stephon Castle went 2-for-2 at the line to ice the win out. 

Our guys stayed together,” Smart said. “The huddles were very good. They believed. We just didn’t execute a lot of things we need to do well enough to beat a team like UConn.”

The Huskies finished the game 13-for-26 (50%) on 3-pointers. Karaban scored a game-high 23 points, and Spencer finished with 17, both making five threes.

“The way they executed their off-ball screening action, I thought we did a nice job early on in the game with it,” Smart said. “But as the game went on, especially early in the second half, they really did a good job creating opportunities.”

UConn also was able to grab 16 offensive rebounds, which translated into 19 second-chance points. Marquette, conversely, scored a measly four points off second-chance opportunities and finished with 10 offensive rebounds.

I think what led to the offensive rebounds for them was just scrapping them out,” Smart said. “They have a way of going with a variety of guys. 

“Obviously they have the tallest guys on the court with (Donovan) Clingan. It’s not so much the ones he gets, because those are expected. But they did a good job with (Stephon) Castle and Spencer and Tristen Newton and different guys on their team flying in there.”

The 7-foot-3 Clingan led with 12 rebounds, and Spencer (8), Newton (6), Hassan Diarra (6) and Karaban (5) all helped UConn finish with 44 total boards to Marquette’s 31.

Golden Eagles look ahead to Xavier and postseason play

Marquette has one more game in the regular season — at Xavier Saturday at 4:00 p.m. — before preparing for the Big East Tournament and then March Madness. 

I told the guys in the locker room afterwards, the real way to honor your seniors is what happens after senior night, the rest of the season,” Smart said.

Ighodaro and the rest of Marquette will remember the taste of Wednesday, but there is still much more to be accomplished.

“I know we lost tonight,” Ighodaro said. “But our goal for the season wasn’t to beat UConn at home.

“Our goal for the season was to win a national championship. We still haven’t done that, and that’s what I want my legacy to be.”

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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