Local Sports

Illinois Battles Marquette Tonight

All eyes will be on Marquette point guard Tyler Kolek's gait when No. 4 Marquette takes the court at No. 23 Illinois for a Gavitt Tipoff Games marquee matchup Tuesday night in Champaign, Ill.


Kolek, the reigning Big East Player of the Year and preseason Associated Press All-American, limped to the locker room with 8:06 left in Marquette's 95-65 win over Rider Friday night and did not return.


The Illini (2-0) and Golden Eagles (2-0) are both defensive-oriented teams loaded with athletic wings and bigs.


Illinois, which limited its first two opponents to 33 percent shooting from the field and 29 percent on 3s, made 11 straight stops down the stretch Friday night in a 64-53 home win over Oakland.


Marquette, which limited its first two opponents to 38 percent shooting from the field and 27 percent on 3s, loves to pressure all over the court and force turnovers. Against an Illinois team that doesn't have a true point guard, this could be the difference.


Tuesday's matchup triggers a rigorous stretch for both squads. The Illini face battles with Top 10 foes Florida Atlantic and Tennessee within three weeks. Marquette goes from Illinois to the Maui Invitational, where the Golden Eagles open with UCLA, and No. 1 Kansas possibly awaits the winner.


Game time is 7 pm tonight in Champaign. 

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