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WKU mens basketball falls in round of 64

Dominic Di Palermo
WKU guard Don McHenry (2) drives the lane against Marquette’s Stevie Mitchell (4) during the March Madness Round of 64 at the Gainbridge Field house in Indianapolis on Friday, March 22, 2024.

No. 15 WKU men’s basketball fell to the No. 2 Marquette Golden Eagles Friday, 87-69, in the NCAA Tournament’s Round of 64.

The beginning of the game exposed some of the flaws early for both teams. The Golden Eagles, a team that usually averages 24.7 three-point attempts per game, attempted 19 going into the half.

For the Hilltoppers, A combination of 10 fouls and 11 turnovers contributed to their nine-point deficit with just seven minutes left to play in the half.

However, thanks to a 24-8 run to head into the break, WKU sported a seven-point lead when the buzzer went off, 43-36.

The Hilltoppers rode the wave of Tyrone Marshall Jr in the first half. Marshall’s 17 points and five assists, while shooting 6-9 from the floor and 4-6 from deep, propelled WKU’s explosive offense.

Coming off of an injury, Marquette’s Tyler Kolek was back like he never left. The guard from Cumberland, Rhode Island had 13 points and four rebounds on 5-6 from the field and 2-3 from deep in his first game back.

Team First Half Statistics: 

WKU: 17-36 FG, 6-12 3FG, 3-4 FT | 26 Rebounds: 18 Defensive, eight Offensive.

MARQ: 13-33 FG, 5-19 3FG, 5-12 FT | 17 Rebounds: 10 Defensive, seven Offensive.

The Golden Eagles took it upon themselves to erase the first half work of the Hilltoppers, tying the game up within just the first four minutes of half-two.

From there the climb was just too far for the Hilltoppers.

The Hilltoppers’ performance in the final twenty minutes was more about who wasn’t producing. Brandon Newman, who finished his night scoreless on eight attempts, played a huge role in WKU’s lack of production late in the second.

The second half charge by Marquette was led by Kam Jones. Jones’ 18 points on 7-10 shooting from the field, including 4-7 from deep, propelled the Golden Eagles to the victory, and subsequently, the Round of 32.

With the loss, WKU’s 2023-2024 season comes to an end.

Team Second Half Statistics: 

WKU: 10-27 FG, 1-7 3FG, 17-23 FT | 23 Rebounds: 15 Defensive, eight Offensive.

MARQ: 12-32 FG, 4-12 3FG, 7-10 FT | 20 Rebounds: 13 Defensive, six Offensive.

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