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No. 11 Marquette bids to bounce back vs. Butler

no-11-marquette-bids-to-bounce-back-vs.-butler

Following a nail-biting loss on the road, No. 11 Marquette will return home to host Butler on Wednesday night in Milwaukee.

The Golden Eagles (11-4, 2-2 Big East) fell 78-75 to Seton Hall on Saturday afternoon in a game that went down to the final buzzer thanks to a late 7-0 run by Marquette.

Oso Ighodaro led the way with 22 points and eight rebounds. David Joplin scored 15 points and Kam Jones added 13 with five assists. Notably, Tyler Kolek was limited to just five points on 1-of-6 shooting.

“Ton of credit to Seton Hall, we got up 10 early in the game and I thought their response was as big of a stretch as any in the game,” Marquette head coach Shaka Smart said. “We have a lot of things that we have to get better at from this game. We’re not entitled to winning.”

Smart also called out his starting lineup in his postgame press conference, particularly noting its performance on defense.

“We don’t have everyone on our team on an equal level with Oso Ighodaro and his passion for winning, and that starts in practice,” Smart added. “That has to improve.”

Butler (10-5, 1-3) last played on Friday, nearly upsetting then-No. 4 UConn at home but ultimately dropping its third straight game with an 88-81 setback.

DJ Davis poured in 22 points and was followed closely by Pierre Brooks II with 19. Jahmyl Telfort surged in the second half and finished with 16 points, while Posh Alexander had six assists.

“DJ is DJ. He’s an incredible shot-maker and even the ones he missed were good looks,” Butler coach Thad Matta said. “We just have to keep finding ways to get him open and play off him.”

UConn coach Dan Hurley said after the game that Butler is an NCAA Tournament-caliber team, and one of the toughest teams they’ve have to guard this season.

“We’re close, but we’re not there yet,” Matta said when asked about the comment. “We have to keep grinding. We have to fight and compete for 40 (minutes).”

Brooks paces Butler with 16.5 points per game on the season. Alexander leads the squad with 5.2 assists and nearly two steals per contest, while Jalen Thomas contributes 6.3 boards and 1.2 blocks.

Marquette is led by Kolek and Jones in scoring with 14.6 and 14.5 points per game, respectively. Kolek also leads with 6.3 assists and 1.7 steals per game while Ighodaro averages nearly seven boards and a block per game.

These teams are polarizing in terms of their team statistics. Butler is just a point per game behind UConn for the top offense in the Big East at just over 82 points per game. The Bulldogs’ defense, however, ranks second-to-last by allowing just shy of 73 points a game.

Marquette on the other hand is more balanced, ranking fifth in the conference in both offense and defense averaging just shy of 78 points and allowing 67 points per game.

The Golden Eagles have won six of the last seven matchups against Butler — including the last three, with the most recent being a 72-56 win last February.

–Field Level Media

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