No. 10 Marquette aims to strengthen its hold on first place in the Big East Conference when it visits No. 19 Creighton on Tuesday in Omaha, Neb.
Winners of seven of their last eight games, the Golden Eagles (21-6, 13-3 Big East) are clinging to a one-game lead in the conference over a three-team contingent that includes the Bluejays (18-9, 12-4).
Marquette bolstered its bid for its first regular-season conference title since 2012-13 with a 69-68 victory over No. 16 Xavier on Wednesday.
Olivier-Maxence Prosper tipped home Kam Jones’ missed driving layup attempt with 1.6 seconds remaining in the second half to continue the Golden Eagles’ winning ways.
“Doing what I do, I crash the opposite glass every time. I knew if (Jones) missed it, that was my rebound,” said Prosper, who finished with seven points.
“And I just went as hard as I could. It bounced right and I just went up there and put it back in. That’s just an effort play. Something I’ve done many times over this year in practice or whatever.”
Stevie Mitchell recorded 17 points, a career-high six steals and three offensive rebounds for the Golden Eagles in the win.
“Just play my role, just do what I came in the game trying to do,” Mitchell said, per the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel. “Just guard. Play hard. And just let everything else take care of itself.
“We’re always going to stick together if the shots aren’t going in or are going in. We’re always going to play as a team. … Regardless of what’s happening on the offensive end, we know defense is something we can control.”
Tyler Kolek collected 15 points and eight rebounds and Oso Ighodaro had 14 and nine, respectively.
Ighodaro recorded 16 points and Prosper had 14 in Marquette’s 69-58 victory over Creighton on Dec. 16. The setback extended a season-high losing skid to six games for the Bluejays, who have bounced back by winning 12 of their last 15 games.
Arthur Kaluma made three consecutive 3-pointers down the stretch to fuel Creighton to a 77-67 victory at St. John’s on Saturday.
“It was big time,” Kaluma said. “We didn’t play our best basketball but at the end of the game when it matters, I was able to step up and hit some big shots for my team.”
Kaluma drained 3 of 6 attempts from beyond arc after making just 4 of 18 tries in his previous five games.
“Art probably hasn’t shot as well as he would like this season for his standards, but he does trust his work,” Bluejays coach Greg McDermott said. “The guy gets extra work in every day on his shooting and you hope that extra work will pay off when your team needs you the most. Art hit some really big ones for us down the stretch.”
Kaluma finished with 12 points but missed all three of his 3-point attempts in the previous meeting with Marquette. Fredrick King collected 16 points and 10 rebounds in that game, while Baylor Scheierman had 14 and 11, respectively.
Ryan Kalkbrenner, who boasts a team-leading average of 14.8 points, did not play in the first encounter with the Golden Eagles due to a non-COVID illness.
–Field Level Media