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Butler surprises No. 11 Marquette 69-62 on road behind 14 points each from Brooks, Moore

Butler Marquette Basketball
Posted at 10:37 AM, Jan 11, 2024
and last updated 2024-01-11 11:37:42-05

MILWAUKEE (AP) — Pierre Brooks and Landon Moore each scored 14 points, leading Butler to a surprising 69-62 victory over No. 11 Marquette on Wednesday night.

Jalen Thomas had 10 points and 14 rebounds for the visiting Bulldogs (11-5, 2-3 Big East), who had lost three straight. Posh Alexander added 10 points, seven assists and five steals.

Kam Jones scored 20 to pace the scuffling Golden Eagles (11-5, 2-3), who have lost two in a row and three of five. Oso Ighodaro had 12 points and nine boards.

Tyler Kolek, the reigning Big East player of the year, managed only two points and eight assists on 1-for-13 shooting — including 0 of 7 from 3-point range.

"A really, really strange and disappointing game,” Marquette coach Shaka Smart said.

“I think we have to figure out how to free these guys' minds in the game because for whatever reason, there’s something taking them out of the present moment, or shooting with avoidance," he said. "I thought we got really tentative at times on offense because guys didn’t know if they were going to be able to shoot it in, just because of the way we’re shooting the ball. And then Butler sensed that. And anytime you get more tentative, the other team gets more aggressive.”

Smart said reserve guard Sean Jones, who left the arena late in the game after a hard fall to the floor, would get an MRI on his knee. Another reserve guard, Chase Ross, missed the game with a shoulder injury sustained in Saturday's loss at Seton Hall.

After trailing 35-28 at halftime, the Bulldogs scored the first seven points of the second period. They went up 62-49 with under four minutes left, and Marquette couldn’t recover.

David Joplin’s 3-pointer cut Butler’s lead to 65-58 with 53.7 seconds left. After a Bulldogs turnover, Ighodaro made one of two free throws with 51 seconds remaining.

But after DJ Davis hit two free throws to make it 67-59, Jones and Kolek each missed a 3-pointer on Marquette’s next possession.

Moore sank two foul shots with 37.3 seconds to go, and Butler held on.

“I think the first thing we look for when we were retooling this team is character, and we’ve got some really fine young men,” Butler coach Thad Matta said. “They’ve done a great job from the day everybody got to camp in June.”

The Bulldogs finished 10 of 22 on 3-pointers, with Brooks making four of six.

The Golden Eagles shot 32.9% from the field. They hit only five of 31 attempts from beyond the arc.

“I thought we did a much better job containing the dribble, and it didn’t force us to rotate as much," Matta said, referring to his team's defense in the second half.

Jones, who was 18 for 57 (32%) from the field in his previous four games, started hot. He scored 13 of Marquette’s first 19 points, with all six field goals coming on layups.

But he went 1 of 10 on 3s and Marquette’s other top scorers were held in check.

The Golden Eagles, who entered leading the Big East with 9.1 steals per game, made 12 steals and forced 18 turnovers, but it wasn’t enough.

BIG PICTURE

Butler: The Bulldogs definitely appear capable of improving on last season's 6-14 record in Big East play, which left them ninth in the 11-team conference.

Marquette: The loss seems certain to drop the Golden Eagles lower in the AP Top 25 poll next week. They were ranked seventh before losing at Seton Hall on Saturday.

UP NEXT

Butler: Will host first-place Seton Hall on Saturday.

Marquette: Will host Villanova on Monday.