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Illinois falls, 67-66, in uncharacteristic showing against Marquette

What a disappointing performance.

NCAA Basketball: Arkansas State at Illinois Ron Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

In its last game without National Player of the Year candidate Kofi Cockburn, the Illini did couldn’t overcome a lackluster night. Illinois struggled with the Marquette Golden Eagles all night before slipping, 67-66, at the Fiserv Forum in Milwaukee as part of the Gavitt Tipoff Games.

A familiar face tried to play hero for the Illini in super senior Trent Frazier. Frazier, who has been cast into a supporting role the past three years with the additions of Ayo Dosunmu and Kofi Cockburn, paced all scorers with 23 points to go along with five rebounds and two assists. But outside of his performance it was an extremely disappointing night all around.

Andre Curbelo and the offense looked all sorts of out of sync, committing 26 turnovers in the game. For him and the other sophomores and freshmen, it was the first time in front of opposing crowds. Still, despite over a dozen giveaways and a 32% showing from the field through 20 minutes, the Illini (2-1) only trailed by a point at the break.

The second half was where Frazier did most of his damage, notching 14 of his game-high 23, but it was much of the same script for Illinois. Foul trouble early put the Golden Eagles in the bonus for the latter half of the second period and would prove to be detrimental.

With 30 seconds left to play and up a point, Frazier got his pocket picked at midcourt and gave Marquette (3-0) a one-point edge. Electing not to use a timeout for the final possession, head coach Brad Underwood watched his Preseason All-American point guard surrender his seventh turnover of the game, ending Illinois’ night with the first loss of the season.


This was nice.

Good to see Trent getting back to form, too.


The tweet.

The shot in question.


Things don’t get any easier. Next up, the Illini travel to Kansas City to square off against Cincinnati as part of the Hall of Fame Classic next Monday at 5:30 p.m. CT. They’ll play either Arkansas or Kansas State on Tuesday.