Surging Marquette will be looking to extend its winning streak when the seventh-ranked Golden Eagles host St. John’s in a Big East matchup on Saturday in Milwaukee.
Marquette (17-5, 8-3 Big East) dominated Georgetown 91-57 last Saturday on the road for its sixth consecutive victory. St. John’s (14-9, 6-6) won 85-57 at home over DePaul on Tuesday, snapping a two-game skid.
“We can keep getting better,” Marquette coach Shaka Smart said. “The thing about the Big East is that each of these games takes on a life of its own, so it’s really hard to compare game to game. In terms of our mentality, which always comes first before how we play, we have been hitting a stride.”
Kam Jones returned against Georgetown after missing most of two games with an ankle injury and poured in a career-high 31 points on 12-of-15 shooting. Tyler Kolek added 17 points and David Joplin had 15, going 4 of 9 from beyond the arc. Oso Ighodaro had 10 points and 10 rebounds for his third double-double of the season.
The Golden Eagles shot 55.6 percent — their sixth straight game over 50 percent — and scored 35 points off 19 Georgetown turnovers.
“Just getting our hands on the basketball is a huge point of emphasis,” Smart said. “We have to. We don’t have the biggest, strongest team. We don’t have necessarily the most athletic team, but our guys have good hand quickness, they have good anticipation, they’re very good at helping one another.”
Kolek averages a team-high 15.1 points and leads the Big East with 7.2 assists per game. Jones averages 14.7 points and Ighodaro adds 14.4, along with a team-best 7.3 boards.
The Golden Eagles average 78.5 points per game, allowing 67.7. Marquette is being out-boarded by 1.2 rebounds per game. St. John’s outrebounds its opponents by 4.9 per game.
St. John’s buried DePaul from long distance, hitting 15 3-pointers to set a program record for most against a Big East opponent.
Daniss Jenkins and Jordan Dingle had 14 points apiece, with each hitting four from beyond the arc.
The Red Storm pounded DePaul on the glass, 45-28, with Chris Ledlum pulling down 10. St. John’s also converted 19 DePaul turnovers into 26 points.
“I was really happy tonight with a lot of different areas,” St. John’s coach Rick Pitino said after the DePaul game. “But I’m happy that they got movement and let those shots fly.”
Joel Soriano leads St. John’s with 15.9 points and 9.6 rebounds per game. Jenkins averages 13.9 points and Dingle 10.8. Ledlum adds 7.5 boards per contest.
Marquette held off St. John’s 73-72 in the first meeting on Jan. 20, when the Red Storm came back from 13 down with 6:20 left. Ighodaro had 17 points and Kolek added 15 points and 11 rebounds. Jenkins had a good look on a 3-pointer at the buzzer but failed to connect.
The Golden Eagles have won five straight against St. John’s and eight of the past 10.
–Field Level Media
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