MUBB-St. John’s takeaways: Kolek is an X-factor, second half adjustments are key, Mitchell and Ross impress

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MUBB-St. John’s takeaways: Kolek is an X-factor, second half adjustments are key, Mitchell and Ross impress


No. 7 Marquette men’s basketball extended its winning streak to seven games after defeating St. John’s 86-75 Saturday on National Marquette Day at Fiserv Forum. 

Here are three takeaways from the win: 

Tyler Kolek is the best point guard in the country

Senior guard Tyler Kolek made a strong case for why he is the best point guard in the country.

He finished the first half by sinking a 3-pointer to bring his team within nine points. He started the second half the same way.

“For me, when I hit a three, everything else just falls into place,” Kolek said. “It opens up so much more.”

That shot trickled into the rest of his game, as Kolek scored 22 of his 27 points in the final half, along with his 13 assists, seven boards and two steals.

“This is one of Tyler Kolek’s best games that he’s ever played at Marquette,” Marquette head coach Shaka Smart said. “He completely orchestrated everything that we did. They didn’t really have a coverage to utilize against him, so they went to switching, and he did a great job against that too.”

In the seven-game winning streak, Kolek has averaged 19.7 points and 10 assists per game while shooting 47.4% from deep and 52.6% from the floor.

Second half adjustments spark Golden Eagles’ response

St. John’s came into the game ranked fifth in the nation in offensive rebounds per game (14.8), and heading into the locker room, it had earned 17 second chance points and was winning the rebounding battle 23-12.

“St. John’s came in here with great desperation,” Smart said. “Anytime you beat a team by one last time and they have a shot at the buzzer to win it, they’re going to feel some kind of way about that. They came in here looking like it and playing like it.”

But it was Marquette who flipped the switch defensively and made an impact on the glass in the second half.

The Golden Eagles out-rebounded the Red Storm 21-12 and were led by senior forward Oso Ighodaro, who grabbed six of his nine rebounds in the final 20 minutes.

“We knew it was going to be a war…. Oso was just getting pushed around a little bit in the first half, and I really love his toughness in the second half,” Kolek said. “He stepped up and gritted his teeth and really got physical with those guys.”

Marquette also shot better in the final frame, shooting 59.4% overall and 53.3% (8-for-15) from deep.

Mitchell and Ross are stars in their roles

Junior guard Stevie Mitchell didn’t score any points in the first half, but came out of the locker room and scored 14 points — the fifth time in six games he’s finished in double digits — while making big plays down the stretch.

In his third game back from his shoulder injury, sophomore guard Chase Ross made his mark on offense, recording eight points while shooting a perfect 2-for-2 from deep in 25 minutes of action.

“I told you Stevie’s one of one, but Chase is extremely unique too,” Smart said. “Those guys when you have them together, now you’ve got a tougher backcourt than most of the people we’re going to go against.

“At least one of those guys in the game at all times means that you feel really good about putting him on a matchup.”

This article was written by Kaylynn Wright. She can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter/X @KaylynnWrightMU. 

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