No. 10 Illinois commits 26 turnovers, upset by Marquette in first loss of season

Sports

MILWAUKEE, Wis. (WCIA) — It was a fitting ending for how the game went. With time winding down Andre Curbelo turned the ball over with a chance to win the game. It was the Illini’s 26th of the night, the most in a game since 2017 for the program, and it added up to a 67-66 loss for No. 10 Illinois at Marquette.

“Really alarming the number of turnovers,” Illinois head coach Brad Underwood said. “Give Shaka (Smart), give Marquette a ton of credit, we just weren’t very good the last five minutes…it was just out of character, that’s the only way I know how to describe it.”

Illinois led by 12 points with 10:14 remaining but didn’t score a field goal the last 5:33 in the game. The Illini (2-1) only scored one point in that final stretch, a free throw with 3:04 to go. They also committed three turnovers in the final 70 seconds, including the last one from Trent Frazier, who scored a game high 23 points, including six 3s.

Andre Curbelo had 11 points but it took him 18 shots to do it, going 4-of-18 from the field, including 0-for-3 from beyond the arc. The sophomore point guard had eight rebounds but seven turnovers to go along with four fouls.

“Belo’s our guy, we’re going to live with him and Trent, we tried to run a couple of actions to get him a good look but it’s tough sledding,” Underwood said. “There’s a ton of learning points to learn from that. When things aren’t going your way offensively, you’ve got to trust your teammates. He’s a really good player and he thinks he’s got a burden on his shoulder but he doesn’t, we’ve got a lot of really good players.”

Coleman Hawkins scored 13 points, Jacob Grandison added 10 for the Illini. Maryland transfer Darryl Morsell had a team high 21 for the Golden Eagles (3-0) who got their first marquee win the Shaka Smart era. Justin Lewis added 17 for Marquette, who got 28 points off Illinois’ 26 turnovers. Despite Illinois winning the rebounding advantage by 20 (50-to-20), they still couldn’t come up with the win.

This was the final game without Kofi Cockburn, who was serving his third and final game of an NCAA suspension for selling team issued gear over the summer. Illinois has a week off before traveling to Kansas City for two games in two days at the Hall of Fame Classic, starting with Monday night’s matchup against Cincinnati.

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