MILWAUKEE (AP) Kam Jones’ teammates could sense he was going to start the season off the right way.

Jones scored 20 points and No. 5 Marquette beat Northern Illinois 92-70 on Monday night in the opener for both schools. The 6-foot-5 guard shot 6 of 9 from the floor and 3 of 5 from 3-point range.

“You could tell Kam was going to have a good game when you saw him this morning, man,” said Marquette guard Sean Jones, who isn't related to Kam. “He came into the Al (McGuire Center) real energetic, real happy like he always does. Had a great fit on. He was just ready to go, all business, hair picked out. Man, it was just great to see.”

Kam Jones went 3 of 3 from 3-point range in the first four minutes, helping Marquette put together a solid start to a season with huge expectations.

Marquette entered with its highest preseason ranking since 1977, when it was coming off a national championship and started out at No. 3. The Golden Eagles return four starters from a team that won the Big East’s regular-season and tournament championships last season.

During a pregame ceremony, Marquette unveiled a banner saluting those Big East titles from last season. The banner was just to the left of Doc Rivers’ retired No. 31 jersey.

That could have served as a distraction. Marquette had no such issues.

“I thought our guys did a nice job of wanting to play, wanting to take this next step with this team, understanding that this team is different than last year's team,” coach Shaka Smart said.

Tyler Kolek, the reigning Big East Player of the Year, had 14 points, five rebounds and four assists as Marquette shot 52.2% from the floor. Oso Ighodaro had 13 points and seven assists, and Chase Ross added a career-high 12 points.

David Coit scored 14 points and DePaul transfer Philmon Gebrewhit had 13 for Northern Illinois. Yanic Konan Niederhauser had nine points and 11 rebounds.

After trailing by 25 with just under 16 minutes left, Northern Illinois cut Marquette’s lead to 65-51 on Zion Russell’s three-point play with 12:55 remaining. Marquette then scored the next eight points.

“I thought we were a little bit nervous,” Northern Illinois coach Rashon Burno said. “The moment was loud for us, and it showed in spots. But I like our grit in the second half. We were able to settle down and score the way we can score.”


Northern Illinois: The Huskies deserve some credit for making a run early in the second half after falling way behind, but they didn't shoot well enough to have a chance at pulling the upset. The Huskies shot 37.1% from the floor and were just 7 of 26 from 3-point range.

Marquette: The Golden Eagles had amazing luck with health last season and were able to use the same starting lineup for all 36 games. The only change in the starting lineup this year is 2022-23 Big East Sixth Man of the Year David Joplin taking over for Olivier-Maxence Prosper, who's now with the Dallas Mavericks. Joplin scored seven points in 21 minutes.


Marquette has a good chance to move up to No. 4 next week if it stays unbeaten, thanks to No. 4 Michigan State's loss to James Madison on Monday.


Northern Illinois: Hosts Appalachian State on Saturday.

Marquette: Hosts Rider on Friday.

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