Marquette men’s basketball lit DePaul on fire for about six minutes on Wednesday night, and that was about all that they needed. In a game where the Golden Eagles never trailed and were up double digits for the final 16:45, the game was decided in the first half.
Kam Jones hit a three-pointer to trigger an 11-0 run — all with point guard Tyler Kolek on the bench, mind you — and after a Jalen Terry triple to break that run, MU tacked on another nine points. That’s right, 20-3, all in just a little less than six minutes, spinning the margin from Marquette by two, 20-18, to Marquette by 19, 40-21.
Did things get a little weird and sloppy over the remaining 26 minutes and change? Sure, maybe, but that’s not all Marquette’s fault. Combine foul trouble for Kam Jones and David Joplin and a 6-for-8 long range shooting night for Terry, 3-for-4 in both halves, and Marquette was never able to push their lead past that 19 point mark. Still, at the end of the day, “We Are Marquette” chants rang out at Wintrust Arena in Chicago as the Golden Eagles got an 86-73 win over DePaul.
The big reason why things never got fully nailed down into a blowout? So, y’know that 20-3 run? Yeah, so the second to last bucket in there was a Stevie Mitchell three-pointer. That came with 8:37 to go in the half, and that would be the last time a Golden Eagle not named Tyler Kolek scored before halftime. Kolek closed out the run with a three and that led him to score 11 of his game high 22 points — he tied with Terry — while DePaul scored 17. It’s not weird or bad to give a little bit of your run back after it’s broken up, but the last two points are particularly frustrating as David Joplin was whistled for a foul on a prayer from mid-court as Terry launched at the horn.
Terry made two of three, but Joplin went into the second half with two fouls instead of just one. Then Jop picked up #3 at the 17:26 mark of the second half, and head coach Shaka Smart had to pick his spots with his starting power forward the rest of the way.
Now, as it turns out, it wasn’t all bad, it was just not fully in the bag. The next point scored after Jop’s third foul was a free throw from DePaul’s Jaden Henley to make it a nine point game. However, Ben Gold splashed from downtown on back-to-back possessions after that, pushing the margin back to 15. DePaul would never get it back to single digits again, but we know that in retrospect. It never got back to nine, but it also never got bigger than 18. Marquette had a chance to blow the game open after an 8-2 run by Oso Ighodaro all by his lonesome against DePaul, as that made it 67-49 with 10:20 to play, but the Blue Demons answered with seven straight.
Marquette had to white knuckle it a little bit the rest of the way, but again: Never got to single digits. In fact, never even got to 10. Spent a lot of time as an 11 point margin, but that was it. In fact, it was an 11 point game with 1:50 to go after Terry’s final three-pointer of the night, and DePaul interim head coach Matt Brady elected to play the fouly foul game, which handed Marquette four free points from the charity stripe. MEMO TO MATT BRADY: No one thinks you’re cool for intentionally fouling down 11 with 1:32 to play. Or with 1:12 to go while you’re down 13. Don’t do this again.
Tyler Kolek’s 22 led the way, and he added two rebounds, seven assists, and a steal. Line Of The Night goes to Oso Ighodaro as he finished with 19 points, 12 rebounds, six assists, and two blocks. Stevie Mitchell added 12 points, while David Joplin made good use of his 26 minutes, throwing in six three-pointers on eight attempts to score 21 points.
How about some highlights, courtesy of GoMarquette.com and CBS Sports?
Up Next: Marquette returns to action as well as to Fiserv Forum on Saturday. That one will be MU’s only home game between now and National Marquette Day on February 10th, so savor it. Seton Hall will be on the other end of the court, as tipoff on FS1 at the sold out Fiserv Forum is set for Noon Central time. The Pirates are coming off a 67-63 loss at home to Providence on Wednesday evening, their second straight loss after falling in triple overtime at home to Creighton back on Saturday.