INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Tyler Kolek had 21 points and 10 assists, and No. 6 Marquette clinched its first outright Big East championship by beating Butler 72-56 on Tuesday night.
The victory was the fifth in a row and 10th in 11 games for the surprising Golden Eagles (24-6, 16-3), picked ninth by the league’s coaches in the preseason poll.
This week, Marquette ascended to its highest ranking in the AP Top 25 since it was No. 1 in 1978.
Marquette, which had already secured a share of its first Big East title since 2013, had not won an outright regular-season crown since doing so in Conference USA in 2003.
Olivier-Maxence Prosper added 14 points and Oso Ighodaro had 12 for the Golden Eagles, who will be the top seed in the Big East Tournament next month at Madison Square Garden — an event Marquette has never won.
The school joined the Big East for the 2005-06 season, and that shared title with Georgetown and Louisville in 2013 was the only previous Big East title for the Golden Eagles.
They will open the conference tournament in the quarterfinals March 9 against the winner of a first-round game between Butler and St. John’s.