Marquette looks for its first win away from home as it travels to Charleston, S.C., on Thursday night to take on Ole Miss in the first round of the Charleston Classic.
The Golden Eagles (3-0) are coming off a 67-66 win over No. 10 Illinois on Monday night. Darryl Morsell paced the team with 21 points on 7-of-12 shooting, Justin Lewis added 17 and Tyler Kolek finished with 12 after grabbing a steal and scoring the go-ahead lay-up with 18 seconds left before the final buzzer.
“I saw that the guy’s head was turned, so I just ran up and tried to make a play and that was that,” Kolek said. “Even though it’s early in the year, we’ve come together, we’ve been so close with each other, and that’s really all that matters in a game like this.”
Morsell has been exceptional for Marquette and is averaging a team-high 22.7 points. The Maryland transfer never broke the 20-point mark during his time with the Terrapins but has eclipsed it in all three of his games with the Golden Eagles.
In his first year as Marquette head coach, Shaka Smart has led the Golden Eagles to their first 3-0 start since the 2011-12 season.
Despite the hot start, Marquette has struggled shooting the ball, hitting just 27.1 percent of its shots from 3-point range and 68.5 percent of its free throws. The Golden Eagles have relied on their defense, forcing opponents to commit an average of 20.3 turnovers while scoring an average of 21.7 points off turnovers.
Ole Miss (2-0) closed off a two-game homestand with a 93-68 win against Charleston Southern last Friday. Jarkel Joiner finished with 24 points and seven assists, Luis Rodriguez added 12 points and six rebounds, and Matthew Murrell contributed 11 points off the bench.
“Coach wanted us to play fast. He was talking about it all summer and we made a lot of improvement,” Joiner said. “We’re just buying into coach’s system, and it’s working.”
The Rebels have posted an average scoring margin of 23 points through their first two games. Ole Miss is shooting an efficient 51.8 percent from the field and 39.2 percent from behind the arc, but has only attempted 16 free throws on the season.
Along with Joiner and Rodriguez, Austin Crowley and Jaemyn Brakefield have led the charge for the Rebels. Crowley is averaging 12 points per game and Brakefield is averaging 9.0 to go along with 5.5 rebounds.
Thursday’s game will mark the second all-time meeting between Marquette and Ole Miss after the Golden Eagles came away with a 96-66 win on Nov. 20, 2011.
–Field Level Media