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No. 5 Marquette trounces Providence 91-69 despite losing Kolek to oblique injury

Providence Marquette Basketball
Posted at 9:57 AM, Feb 29, 2024
and last updated 2024-02-29 10:57:15-05

MILWAUKEE (AP) — Marquette didn't need Tyler Kolek down the stretch to breeze to its third straight blowout victory Wednesday night.

Now the fifth-ranked Golden Eagles must hope they won't be without the reigning Big East player of the year much longer.

Kam Jones had 17 points to lead a balanced scoring attack as Marquette rolled to a 91-69 triumph over Providence despite playing most of the second half without Kolek, who left the game with an oblique injury.

Marquette coach Shaka Smart said after the game he didn't know the extent of the injury.

"He said that he made a pass and kind of twisted his body, and he just felt it," Smart said. "I didn't see it when it happened, but he's with the training staff now."

Kolek headed into the tunnel with just over 15 minutes left as Marquette led 60-37. He soon returned to the bench and checked into the game before exiting again about 12 seconds later.

The Golden Eagles, up 20 at that point, were just fine without him.

Kolek finished with 12 points and six assists in his 17 ½ minutes. David Joplin scored 13, while Chase Ross and Stevie Mitchell added 12 points each as Marquette (22-6, 13-4) never trailed and won for the 11th time in 12 games.

Marquette grabbed a 27-4 lead in the first 9 ½ minutes and never looked back.

"They deserved to win," Providence coach Kim English said. "They deserved to win in easy fashion. It was the start of the game. I told our guys that's on me. I've got to find different ways to have our guys ready."

Devin Carter scored 18, Ticket Gaines 15, Corey Floyd Jr. 13 and Josh Oduro 12 for Providence (18-10, 9-8).

Marquette avenged a 72-57 loss at Providence, a Dec. 19 game that marked the Big East opener for both teams.

"We played harder than them, way back when, the first time we played them, and won," English said. "And they played harder than us tonight, and they won."

Mitchell didn't play in that first matchup due to a hamstring injury but made an immediate impact Wednesday and had 10 points just six minutes into the game.

Mitchell also helped lead a tenacious defense that enabled Marquette to take control early. Providence missed seven of its first eight shots, and the game was nearly 12 ½ minutes in by the time the Friars made their first two-point basket.

"I feel like our defense was a game-changer," Ross said. "It took them out of what they wanted to do, and so it fueled our offense as you could see."

BIG PICTURE

Providence: The Friars wasted an opportunity to give their postseason resume a significant boost, though that early-season victory over Marquette still carries plenty of weight. The Friars entered Wednesday as a No. 10 or No. 11 seed in most bracket projections.

Marquette: The Golden Eagles closed a three-game homestand in which they outscored opponents by an average margin of 26.7 points. This victory followed a 105-71 blowout of DePaul and an 88-64 triumph over Xavier. Marquette has won 26 of its last 27 Big East home games.

UP NEXT

Providence: Hosts Villanova on Saturday.

Marquette: At No. 12 Creighton on Saturday.