Smart leads Marquette to blowout win over former squad Texas
MILWAUKEE (AP) — Tyler Kolek had 28 points, eight rebounds and six assists as No. 8 Marquette drubbed No. 12 Texas 86-65 on Wednesday night in a Big East-Big 12 Battle matchup.
Kam Jones added 17 points for Marquette (7-2), which rebounded from a 75-64 loss Saturday at in-state rival Wisconsin and gave coach Shaka Smart an emphatic win against his former team. Smart faced the Longhorns for the first time since spending six seasons at Texas, where he went 109-86 from 2015-21 but did not win an NCAA Tournament game.
“I told the guys in the locker room after the game that this really was the result not just of their effort and connectivity tonight, but what they were willing to put into the last few days,” Smart said. “There was some real conversation and reflection after Saturday’s game. The difference between good teams and great teams is great teams are able to come together after adversity.”
Marquette played with a different mindset against the Longhorns, Kolek said.
“Against Wisconsin, I feel like we let them dictate what they wanted to do,” he said. “I feel like today we did the opposite. We really set the pace.”
Max Abmas led Texas (6-2) with 25 points.
“We didn’t bring the energy and intensity that we needed to,” Abmas said.
After closing out the first half with a flurry, Marquette left no doubt in the second, building a 32-point lead.
Kolek opened the game with a 3-pointer, but Abmas responded with three consecutive makes from deep in a little over a minute to put the Longhorns in front.
After Kolek’s opening shot, Marquette missed its next eight 3-point attempts. But an 11-0 run, which included three consecutive 3s, pushed Marquette to a 29-20 lead with just under six minutes left in the first half, and the Golden Eagles didn’t look back.
Kolek connected on consecutive 3s to close the half, including one from the Fiserv Forum logo just before the horn, to give Marquette a 42-28 lead at the break.
“If they are going to leave me open like that, I owe it to my team to shoot. I was wide open,” Kolek said.
Texas coach Rodney Terry said the game slipped away from this team late in the first half.
“We didn’t close out the right way and they got some separation,” he said.
Texas: The marquee nonconference road game provided Texas with its last Top 25 test before it hosts Big 12 rival Texas Tech on Jan. 6. Before that, the Longhorns have home games against Houston Christian, LSU, Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, UNC Greensboro and UT Arlington.
Marquette: The Golden Eagles climbed to No. 3 in the AP poll after a strong showing in the Maui Invitational but slipped to No. 8 this week following the loss to Wisconsin. Marquette has another chance this week to impress voters and climb back up the rankings with a matchup against old rival Notre Dame.
Kolek said he’s certain the win meant something extra for Smart, even though he wouldn’t admit it. “He’s like ‘I don’t really care.’ But after the game I grabbed him and said this one’s for you.”
The teams met for only the second time, with Marquette winning the lone meeting 65-56 on Dec. 27, 1977.
Texas: Will host Houston Christian on Saturday.
Marquette: Will host Notre Dame on Saturday in their 119th series matchup.
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