CHAMPAIGN (WCIA) — Tyler Kolek’s leg was visibly bruised above the tape line on his left ankle, with the reigning Big East Player of the Year questionable going into Tuesday night’s game at No. 23 Illinois after rolling his ankle in last Friday’s game against Rider. Turns out the injury didn’t slow him down. Kolek scored a game high 24 points, with 14 coming in the first half alone, to lead the fourth-ranked Golden Eagles to a 71-64 win over the Illini.
The Illini (2-1) got a team high 21 points from Terrence Shannon Jr. but he turned the ball over five times, with fellow senior Coleman Hawkins also adding five more of the team’s 15 total turnovers. Marcus Domask had his best game as an Illini scoring 18 points, with the SIU transfer making 3-of-7 from 3. His wing counterpart, Luke Goode, also had a career night in Orange and Blue netting 13 points, going 4-for-7 from beyond the arc. Syrcause transfer Quincy Guerrier grabbed 10 rebounds but did not score a point.
The Golden Eagles (3-0) got 15 points from Kam Jones to go along with 13 points and eight rebounds out of Oso Ighodaro.
Down 36-31 at halftime, Illinois opened up the second half on an 11-4 run to take its first lead since the 15-minute mark of the first half. But Marquette responded with an 8-0 run midway through the second half to take a lead they never gave back.
Illinois returns to the court Friday night hosting Valparaiso, marking the return of former Illini Final Four player Roger Powell, the new head coach at Valpo.