MILWAUKEE (AP) — Tyler Kolek converted a steal into a go-ahead layup with 18 seconds left and Marquette forced 26 turnovers for a 67-66 comeback victory over No. 10 Illinois on Monday night.
Marquette (3-0) came back from a 12-point deficit in the second half to give new coach Shaka Smart his first signature win, despite going 3 of 9 from the foul line down the stretch.
Illinois (2-1) was clinging to a 66-65 lead when Kolek stole the ball from Trent Frazier at midcourt, maintained his balance and made a layup despite getting fouled. Kolek missed the ensuing free throw, but Kur Kuath stole the ball from Illinois guard Andre Curbelo with three seconds left to thwart the Illini.
Darryl Morsell scored 21 points, Justin Lewis had 17 and Kolek added 12 points.
For the Illini, Frazier had 23 points, including 6 of 10 3-pointers, while Coleman Hawkins scored 13 points and Jacob Grandison 10.
Illinois was playing without Associated Press preseason All-America center Kofi Cockburn, who was completing his three-game suspension to start the season. The NCAA handed down the penalty because the 7-footer sold apparel and memorabilia before the new name, image and likeness legislation permitting athletes to participate in money-making ventures went into effect.
The two teams were facing off for the first time since December 1993 as part of the Gavitt Tipoff Games, a series matching Big East programs against Big Ten schools.
After trailing 28-27 at halftime, Illinois racked up 31 points in the first 9:46 of the second half to grab a 58-46 lead. The Illini shot 12 of 17 from the floor and 5 of 7 on 3-point attempts during that stretch.
But Marquette answered with nine straight points -– including seven from Morsell — to cut Illinois’ advantage to 58-55. Illinois got the lead back up to seven, but Marquette clawed back and got the lead down to 66-65 on Justin Lewis’ two free throws with 2:31 left.
Morsell missed two potential go-ahead jumpers in the last two minutes before the big steal from Kolek.
Illinois: Taking care off the ball has been a big concern early on. The Illini had 13 assists compared with 26 turnovers Monday and in have 58 turnovers and 43 assists through the first three games of the season. Illinois opened with blowout victories over Jackson State and Arkansas State.
Marquette: The Golden Eagles continued their penchant for early-season upsets. Last season, Marquette beat then-No. 4 Wisconsin and then-No. 9 Creighton in the first month of the season, but failed to build on that momentum. The Golden Eagles staggered to a 13-14 finish that led to coach Steve Wojciechowski being fired after seven seasons.
This loss could drop Illinois out of the top 15.
Illinois: Faces Cincinnati on Monday in the Hall of Fame Classic in Kansas City, Missouri.
Marquette: Faces Mississippi on Thursday in the Charleston Classic in Charleston, South Carolina.