Playmaking guard has six or more assists in nine straight games
Tyler Kolek came to Marquette with the reputation as a shooter. He showed he could shoot the ball last year at George Mason, shooting nearly 36 percent from 3-point range. This year he hasn’t shown the same shot-making ability, but Kolek has shown excellent playmaking ability. Despite the lack of shooting, Kolek is clearly the straw that stirs the Golden Eagles’ drink.
The 6-foot-3 guard has become a dynamic, playmaking point guard with pinpoint passes helping spur the Marquette offense. Kolek leads the Big East in assists, averaging 6.4 assists to go with 6.8 points per game. In the Golden Eagles’ win – their third straight – on Tuesday, Kolek collected a career-high 10 assists in Marquette’s 87-76 win over DePaul.
It is part of a pattern for Kolek. Kolek has notched six or more assists in all six Big East games and nine straight overall. That is quite an impressive feat. His passing and unselfish ball-sharing has become contagious for the Golden Eagles. In the win over DePaul, Marquette compiled 27 assists on 34 made field goals.
Kolek indispensable for MU
Transferring into the program, Kolek didn’t have a reputation for being a good defender. But his playmaking hasn’t only been on the offensive end. Kolek averages 1.8 steals per game and once the ball is in his hands in transition, he makes the right play.
Kolek’s defensive playmaking led to his game-winning steal and layup vs. Illinois for a signature win for Marquette. Also, his overall value was highlighted against Georgetown. Marquette burst out to a 19-point lead over Georgetown with Kolek scoring 9 points on a perfect 4-for-4 shooting and handing out all seven of his assists in the opening half, but Kolek picked up his second foul. Georgetown closed the half on an 11-0 run to close the gap to eight at half.
When Kolek returned in the second half, the Golden Eagles blew the doors off the Hoyas and won by 28.
Let’s be real, though. Marquette will need Kolek to shoot the ball better. For the year he is shooting 31/2 percent from the floor and 23.6 percent from 3. He is likely to shoot better and things are on the uptick. Over his last four games, Kolek is 13 for 29 (44.8 percent) from the field and 4 for 14 from 3 (28.6 percent). The southpaw shooting the ball better could be a game-changer for the Golden Eagles, who have now won three straight games.
Marquette begins a hellacious stretch in their schedule with Seton Hall (twice), Villanova, Xavier constituting its next four games. If Kolek was going to snap his shooting funk now would be a great time. If Kolek can become a stable scorer to go with his playmaking ability, MU’s rise up the standings is likely to continue.
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