Marquette’s Wrightsil says he’s having season-ending surgery

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MILWAUKEE – Marquette forward Zach Wrightsil will have season-ending surgery, he said Friday on social media.

Wrightsil, the 2021-22 NAIA player of the year, transferred to Marquette after leading Loyola New Orleans to the NAIA championship last season. He had arthroscopic knee surgery in June and appeared in three games for Marquette before the knee issue kept him from playing again.

“This year went from being my best to my most challenging in a matter of months,” Wrightsil wrote on Instagram. “After trying to play through injury it was clear that I would have to sit out this season and have surgery.”

Wrightsil totaled four points and 26 minutes in the three games he played for Marquette.

The 6-foot-7 forward averaged 18.7 points, 8.8 rebounds and 3.6 assists for Loyola New Orleans last season. He departed as Loyola New Orleans’ all-time leader in points (2,104), rebounds (1,065) and assists (480).

“There is something bigger in store for me, and I am trusting this process,” Wrightsil said.

No. 24 Marquette (9-4, 1-1 Big East) hosts Seton Hall on Tuesday.

Jones, Ighodaro lead Marquette over Notre Dame 79-64

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SOUTH BEND, Ind. — Kam Jones scored 25 points, Oso Ighodaro added a double-double and Marquette breezed to a 79-64 victory over Notre Dame on Sunday.

Jones sank half of his 20 shots with four 3-pointers for the Golden Eagles (8-3). Ighodaro added 16 points and a career-high 18 rebounds. Olivier-Maxence Prosper had 14 points and Tyler Kolek scored 11 with six assists.

Nate Laszewski paced the Fighting Irish (7-3) with 20 points and seven rebounds. JJ Starling scored 12.

Ighodaro had 10 points and 10 rebounds to guide Marquette to a 34-29 lead at halftime.

The Golden Eagles scored the first seven points of the second half to push their lead to 12. Ighodaro’s rebound dunk gave Marquette its largest lead 77-57 with 2:57 left to play.

Notre Dame leads the all-time series between former Big East Conference rivals 81-38. Marquette won for just the 14th time in 62 games on Notre Dame’s home floor.

Notre Dame inducted former Fighting Irish standout John Shumate, a two-time All American from 1971-74, into its Ring of Honor at halftime. Shumate averaged a double-double for his career – 22.6 points and 11.6 rebounds per game. On Jan. 19, 1974, Shumate had 24 points and 11 rebounds to lead the Irish to a 71-70 victory over UCLA, snapping the Bruins’ record 88-game win streak.

Marquette’s defense overwhelms No. 6 Baylor in 96-70 win

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MILWAUKEE – Marquette has developed a habit under Shaka Smart of saving its top performances for the best opponents on its schedule.

Olivier-Maxence Prosper scored 24 points and Marquette capitalized on a dominant start from its defense to roll past No. 6 Baylor 96-70 on Tuesday night in the Big 12-Big East Battle. This was the highest-ranked team Marquette (6-2) has beaten under Smart and the Golden Eagles improved to to 7-6 against AP Top 25 squads in his tenure.

“Most of the time against these great teams, they don’t have us winning that game,” said David Joplin, who scored 19 points. “We just come out, we want to go out and prove everybody wrong. And that feeling, that chip makes us play so much better.”

Marquette nearly produced its most lopsided victory against a Top 25 team. The Golden Eagles trounced No. 16 Providence 88-56 on Jan. 4 in Smart’s debut season.

“When you go into a game and the game is bigger in the minds of your players than anything else, to me that’s the best recipe for winning,” Smart said. “It should be that way all the time, but human nature sometimes messes with that.”

Marquette’s defense embarrassed a highly regarded Baylor backcourt.

The Golden Eagles raced to a 51-25 halftime lead thanks to a 24-0 edge in points off turnovers. Baylor (5-2) already had a season-high 16 turnovers by halftime.

Baylor entered Tuesday ranked third among Division I teams in assist-turnover margin. The Bears had 20 turnovers and 12 assists against Marquette.

“I didn’t see that coming,” Baylor coach Scott Drew said. “Credit the crowd. Credit them for building momentum. Credit Shaka for having them prepared and how hard they played. At the end of the day, we fed to the fire by turning it over and making some uncharacteristic mistakes.”

Prosper scored 10 points and sank two 3-pointers during a 23-2 run that turned an early 7-2 deficit into a 25-9 advantage. Chase Ross capped the spurt by getting a steal and throwing down a left-handed dunk.

Baylor never cut Marquette’s lead below 22 points in the second half.

Kam Jones had 20 points as Marquette shot 58.3% overall to win its third straight. The Golden Eagles shot 12 of 25 from 3-point range, with Jones going 4 of 7 and Prosper and Joplin each going 3 of 4.

Baylor’s LJ Cryer had 17 of his 19 points, in the second half. Adam Flagler had 16 and Keyonte George added 12 for the Bears.

BIG PICTURE

Baylor: The Bears shot 48.2% (27 of 56) but had no answers for Marquette’s defense and dug too deep a hole. Baylor rallied from a 25-deficit to force overtime in an NCAA Tournament loss to North Carolina last season, but the Bears never mounted any kind of comeback Tuesday.

Marquette: After losing to Purdue and Mississippi State earlier this season, the Golden Eagles delivered the kind of performance that showed they’re capable of beating anyone. Marquette will try to prove that again when it hosts Wisconsin on Saturday.

BIG 12 VS. BIG EAST

The Big 12-Big East Battle started Tuesday and runs through Sunday. Last season’s Big 12-Big East Battle ended in a 5-5 tie.

HONORING THOMPSON

Marquette came out of its locker room wearing shirts with No. 24 to honor George Thompson, who died in June of complications from diabetes. Thompson played for Marquette from 1967-69, and he was the school’s career scoring leader for 40 years.

Tuesday would have been Thompson’s 75th birthday. A No. 24 banner with Thompson’s name hangs from the Fiserv Forum rafters.

“I really felt like we needed to win tonight to honor George,” Smart said. “If you make it George Thompson Night, you couldn’t lose.”

UP NEXT

Baylor: Faces No. 14 Gonzaga on Friday in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.

Marquette: Hosts Wisconsin on Saturday.

Carolina routs Marquette 95-63 in Davis’ NCAA coaching debut

Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports
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FORT WORTH, Texas – Hubert Davis was quick to point out the first NCAA Tournament victory for Caleb Love and other North Carolina players.

The Tar Heels coach was less interested in what it meant to win his tournament debut for a storied program that also is his alma mater.

Brady Manek scored 28 points and Love needed just 19 minutes to tie Carolina’s single-game tournament record of six 3-pointers in a 95-63 rout of Marquette on Thursday, the biggest blowout in a matchup of 8-9 seeds in tournament history.

Love scored 21 of his 23 points before halftime as the eighth-seeded Tar Heels (25-9) built a 28-point lead. They play defending national champion Baylor on Saturday.

The win was in stark contrast to last year, when the Tar Heels sent Roy Williams into retirement with his only opening-round loss in 30 NCAA appearances.

“Honestly, it really doesn’t mean anything to me personally,” said Davis, a player from 1988-92. “When I see Caleb and Brady and Armando (Bacot) playing well like they did today, I know all the hard work that was put in during the summer and late nights, early in the mornings. It’s almost like a father. I’ve got three kids, and it’s a feeling of just being proud.”

Shaka Smart’s return to Texas was a dud a year after he took the Marquette job amid questions about his future as coach of the Texas Longhorns following a shocking first-round loss to Abilene Christian.

Olivier-Maxence Prosper scored 16 points for the No. 9 seed Golden Eagles (19-13), who lost their third consecutive first-round game.

“I told the guys in the locker room after the game, we’re not going to evaluate the entirety of our season based on one game,” Smart said. “We’re obviously really, really disappointed and upset with how today’s game went. It’s not up to standard that we set.”

Manek, the Oklahoma transfer who had a pair of first-round wins with the Sooners, finished with five 3s as he and Love combined to go 11 of 23 from long range.

Bacot matched Manek’s double-double while grabbing 10 rebounds on his way to the school season record (422). He scored 17 points. RJ Davis had a career-high 12 assists.

Smart, who lost all three of his first-round games in six seasons with the Longhorns, had one of three Marquette technical fouls in a span of 90 seconds late in the first half when he complained about a no-call. Kur Kuath got one for hanging on the rim after a dunk. Darryl Morsell was penalized on review after a scramble for a loose ball.

Just before the tech spree, Morsell ended up nose-to-nose with Love after trying to take the ball out of his hands when Love was called for stepping on the midcourt line while trying to dribble around the stocky Marquette guard.

“We knew it was going to be a dogfight,” Love said. “We don’t back down from anything. Just my competitive nature and my team’s competitive nature, just came out and, you know, we played it smart.”

The Tar Heels were already up 18 when players from both teams had to be separated. It quickly got worse from there.

Carolina finished the first half on a 16-4 run for a 53-25 lead, and Manek made it a 34-point game (67-33) with consecutive 3s early in the second half. The biggest lead for the Tar Heels was 35.

BIG PICTURE

North Carolina: The last time Carolina played Marquette in the NCAA Tournament, in 2011, the Tar Heels had 25 points at halftime. They bounced back to win that game 81-63.

Marquette: A solid shooting team most of the season, the Golden Eagles struggled badly from the field early. They were shooting 22% after three misses at the rim in the same sequence. They finished at 36%.

NO BACKING DOWN

After the Love-Morsell standoff, Davis turned to his bench with emphatic words of encouragement.

“I’ve been clear and definitive to the guys about what we need to do out there on the floor,” Davis said. “There’s been a number of times where teams have tried to push us around. And the only way that you can change that narrative of people thinking they can do that is if you swing back and be the first one to swing.”

All-Big East: Gillespie unanimous, Champagnie honored again

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NEW YORK — Villanova guard Collin Gillespie was the only unanimous pick for the all-Big East team Sunday, and St. John’s forward Julian Champagnie joined him as a repeat selection.

Connecticut guard R.J. Cole and forward Adama Sanogo also were on the first team, along with Marquette forward Justin Lewis and Seton Hall swingman Jared Rhoden.

Gillespie, the co-Big East player of the year last season, is averaging 16.3 points per game to pace the 11th-ranked Wildcats. He leads the conference in 3-point shooting (43.1%) and free-throw percentage (91.5%).

Champagnie is averaging 18.9 points and 6.6 rebounds. He just missed winning the Big East scoring title for the second consecutive year, nipped by Lewis in the final game of the regular season.

Two players from regular-season champion Providence were included on the all-Big East second team: guard Jared Bynum and center Nate Watson. Joining them were DePaul guard Javon Freeman-Liberty, Creighton forward Ryan Hawkins and Villanova guard Justin Moore.

Receiving honorable mention were St. John’s point guard Posh Alexander, Creighton center Ryan Kalkbrenner, Marquette guard Darryl Morsell and Xavier center Jack Nunge.

The conference’s head coaches vote for the all-conference teams and are not allowed to pick their own players.

The league’s player of the year will come from the all-Big East first team. The winner will be announced Wednesday afternoon at Madison Square Garden before the Big East Tournament opener, when the conference also reveals its coach of the year, freshman of the year and scholar-athlete of the year.

Creighton had three players on the all-freshman team: guard Trey Alexander, forward Arthur Kaluma and point guard Ryan Nembhard, who was chosen Big East rookie of the week six times before a season-ending wrist injury late last month.

Nembhard was a unanimous selection to the all-freshman team, along with Georgetown guard Aminu Mohammed and Marquette guard Kam Jones. UConn guard Jordan Hawkins also made the squad.

Late layup by Hawkins lifts Creighton past Marquette

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OMAHA, Neb.- Ryan Kalkbrenner scored 21 points and Ryan Hawkins made a layup with 1:55 left to give Creighton the lead en route to an 83-82 win over Marquette on Sunday.

Hawkins’ layup capped a 7-1 run for the Bluejays. Neither team scored again until the final eight seconds.

Creighton’s Ryan Nembhard missed a 3-pointer with 17 seconds to go. Creighton momentarily had the offensive rebound but wound up giving the ball away. The Bluejays’ Rati Andronikashvili got the ball back with a steal with eight seconds to go and the Blue Jays finished it off with 3 of 4 free throws.

Marquette’s Kam Jones made a 3-pointer at the buzzer for the final margin.

Nembhard had 18 points for Creighton (18-8, 10-5 Big East Conference), which earned its fifth consecutive win. Hawkins added 17 points and nine rebounds. Trey Alexander had 13 points and eight rebounds.

Darryl Morsell had 23 points for the Golden Eagles (17-10, 9-7). Kam Jones added 18 points. Justin Lewis had 11 points and seven rebounds.

The Bluejays improved to 2-0 against the Golden Eagles on the season. Creighton defeated Marquette 75-69 on Jan. 1.