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No. 7 Marquette closes nonconference slate vs. St. Thomas

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Coming off two resume-building wins at home, No. 7 Marquette has one final tune-up before Big East play as the Golden Eagles host St. Thomas on Thursday night in Milwaukee.

After beating then-No. 12 Texas handily by 21 on Dec. 6, Marquette (8-2) followed that up with a 78-59 win over Notre Dame on Saturday night, a game that the Golden Eagles controlled from the jump.

Oso Ighodaro led the way with 20 points in just 28 minutes for Marquette. Tyler Kolek added 17 points along with a game-high seven assists.

“I thought our focus to start the game was terrific,” Marquette coach Shaka Smart said. “The guys were excited when they heard the game was sold out and really wanted to come into the game locked in.”

The Golden Eagles began the game on a 17-0 run, stopping the Fighting Irish on their first 10 possessions. They didn’t allow a point until the 12:53 mark of the first half.

“Multiple efforts, deflections, helping each other,” Smart said referring to the defense early in the game. “The guys did a nice job of switching when it was necessary and trying to make shots difficult.”

St. Thomas (6-4) comes into this matchup on a three-game winning streak with victories over Western Michigan, Wisconsin-Milwaukee and most recently over Chicago State on the road on Sunday by a 66-50 final.

Brooks Allen and Ben Nau each led the way for the Tommies with 17 points. Raheem Anthony was the lead distributor with eight assists and Drake Dobbs added seven points along with six assists.

“I’m really proud of our guys,” St. Thomas coach Johnny Tauer said. “To get to come back here (to Chicago State) at almost two years after our first Division I game, some of it is a marker of how much we’ve progressed.”

The Tommies are led in scoring and rebounding this season by Parker Bjorklund with 13.9 and 4.8, respectively. Anthony leads with 3.2 assists per game.

Marquette is led by Kam Jones with 15.9 points per game. Kolek follows closely behind with 15.3 points and leads with 5.5 assists and 1.7 steals per night, while Ighodaro leads down low with 6.0 rebounds and 1.0 blocks per game.

One key injury update for Marquette: Stevie Mitchell was a late scratch Saturday due to a hamstring injury. After the game, Smart said there was no timetable for his return, but is hopeful it “won’t be too long.” He is listed as questionable for Thursday night.

These schools have a history against one another. It will be the 12th matchup between the programs dating back to 1977, with Marquette leading the series 8-3.

St. Thomas is in just its third season as a Division I program. After a rough first year at the D-I level, going 10-20 in the 2021-22 season, the Twin Cities school improved last year by finishing 19-14 and 9-9 in the Summit League.

–Field Level Media

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