MILWAUKEE (AP) Tyler Kolek scored all 16 of his points in the first half and No. 3 Marquette backed up its highest ranking in nearly half a century by trouncing Southern 93-56 on Tuesday night.

In its first game since a runner-up finish in the Maui Invitational, Marquette (6-1) used swarming defense to convert 22 turnovers by Southern into 38 points. The Golden Eagles turned it over just six times, leading to two points for the Jaguars (1-6), who lost their fifth straight.

Kam Jones scored 15 points, Stevie Mitchell added 11 and David Joplin and Ben Gold had 10 each for Marquette.

“I think for sure just getting back to the (Central) time zone - couldn’t sleep the first couple of days - just got to get back right,” Joplin said. “The biggest thing was just staying in the gym trying to sweat it off. You've still got to come out, still got to compete. This is our job. We’ve got to do our job.”

Jordan Johnson scored 21 points for Southern, matching his season total entering the game. He had 20 in the first half alone while shooting 6 of 8 from 3-point range. Tai’Reon Joseph added 12 points for the Jaguars.

Marquette hasn’t owned this lofty a position in the AP Top 25 since March 1978, when it also was ranked third at the end of the regular season before an 84-81 overtime loss to Miami (Ohio) in its opening NCAA Tournament game.

“Man, they move the ball,” Southern coach Kevin Johnson said. “As long as they continue to share the ball like that and are able to harass people defensively, they're going to remain one of the top teams in the country.”

During its fruitful trip to Hawaii, Marquette beat then-No. 1 Kansas in the semifinal before losing the championship game to Purdue, which moved up from No. 2 to No. 1 this week.

Marquette didn’t face nearly as tough a challenge Tuesday.

After Marquette opened with an 8-0 run, Southern cut the lead to 20-18 as the Jaguars shot 7 of 8 overall and 4 of 5 from 3-point range in the first 8 1/2 minutes. Marquette scored the game’s next 15 points.

Southern shot 56% overall and 8 of 17 from 3-point range in the first half but still trailed 52-36 at the break, when Marquette had a 25-0 edge in points off turnovers.

“They were bombing 3s at an incredible rate,” Marquette coach Shaka Smart said. “Some of them were defensive mishaps on our part. Some of them were pretty well defended, and they shot the ball in. Grateful for our guys at halftime recognizing and understanding we needed to defend the 3-point line better.”

Southern went 8 of 29 overall and 1 of 12 from 3-point range over the final 20 minutes.

Kolek sat out the last 14-plus minutes with the game out of reach but still increased his career point total to 1,015, 238 of which came when he was playing for George Mason in 2020-21. The other Marquette players to reach 1,000 points and 500 assists are Tony Miller, Travis Diener, Dominic James and Aaron Hutchins.


Southern: The Jaguars' brutal early-season schedule won't include a home game until Dec. 9. Southern won 85-71 at UNLV. The Jaguars have lost to TCU, No. 2 Arizona and Illinois. Johnson said Marquette “definitely was the most physical of those teams.”

Marquette: This game fell in between the Maui Invitational and matchups with in-state rival Wisconsin and No. 16 Texas, the team Smart led from 2015-21. It would have been easy for the Golden Eagles to look past this one, but they did what a top-five team is supposed to do against an overmatched opponent.


Southern: At No. 21 Mississippi State on Sunday.

Marquette: At Wisconsin on Saturday.


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