HomeSportsTyler Kolek's career-high 32 points lead No. 9 Marquette past Villanova 85-80

Tyler Kolek’s career-high 32 points lead No. 9 Marquette past Villanova 85-80

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Tyler Kolek hit five 3-pointers and scored a career-high 32 points to lead No. 9 Marquette to its fifth straight win, 85-80 over Villanova on Tuesday night.

Kolek rallied the Golden Eagles (16-5, 7-3 Big East) after they squandered a 20-point lead. With the Wildcats on fumes after a 34-10 run gave them the lead, Kolek connected on four 3s that sparked the Golden Eagles.

No. 9 Marquette vs. Villanova Highlights

He hit two straight for a 56-51 lead. Kolek, already a 1,000-point career scorer, hit another 3 for a 62-56 lead and one more for a seven-point lead that helped Marquette hold on for the tough road win.

Kolek was 10 of 20 from the floor and 7 of 8 at the free-throw line.

TJ Bamba and Eric Dixon led Villanova (11-10, 4-6) with 24 points apiece. Dixon hit a late 3 that made it 81-78 with 38 seconds left, only for Kolak to seal the win from the foul line.

Once a national power with two national championships in the last decade, the Wildcats have lost five straight games for the first time since the end of the 2011 season.

Villanova coach Kyle Neptune was lightly booed in pregame introductions by a fanbase that rarely turns on its own.

The Golden Eagles — who started Villanova’s skid with an 87-74 win two weeks ago — then piled on to the misery on the Main Line. Without a 3-pointer, Marquette took a 15-2 lead just 6 1/2 minutes into the game.

Neptune stuck his hands in his suit pockets and paced near the free-throw line as the Wildcats called a 30-second timeout to regroup. Marquette hit 11 of its first 14 shots and led by 15 on the way to opening a 37-17 advantage.

With Hall of Fame coach Jay Wright sitting just five rows off the court, Wildcats fans again booed as the game seemed poised to get out of reach. One Villanova student wore a T-shirt with ” Fire Neptune ” scrawled on the front.

Even with the losing streak, the Wildcats were actually 2.5-point favorites at tipoff, per FanDuel SportsBook. Even with the losing streak, the Wildcats were still on the brink of an at-large bid in the NCAA Tournament, as a last four out, per Bracketology.

The Wildcats had some fight.

Mark Armstrong hit a twisting layup and buried a 3 at the horn that closed a 14-2 run to end the half and pulled the Wildcats within eight. Villanova erased the entire 20-point deficit to take a 48-47 lead early in the second.

BIG PICTURE

Marquette: The Golden Eagles have won three games on the road during their winning streak. They beat Villanova without Kam Jones (ankle), who averages 13.9 points per game. Tre Norman took a knee to the back of the head in the first half. Chase Ross gave Marquette a boost with 11 points in his first game since Jan. 6. He had been sidelined by a shoulder injury.

Villanova: While the boos may rain on Neptune, the Wildcats may be wise to remember what happens when they preach patience. Wright didn’t make the NCAA Tournament until his fourth season.

UP NEXT

Marquette plays Saturday at Georgetown.

Villanova hosts Providence on Sunday.

Reporting by The Associated Press.


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