Marquette Basketball: Hurt Tyler Kolek leads Eagles to win over Illinois

Despite being less than 100%, Marquette Basketball star Tyler Kolek was able to lead all players in scoring in the team’s road win over Illinois.

Through the first two games of the Marquette Men’s basketball season, Tyler Kolek has displayed just the right amount of necessary to help his team to victories. Exhibiting nothing too flashy or remarkable in those outings, Kolek has done just enough to help win games that, on paper at least, Marquette should have won.

On Tuesday night in Champaign, Illinois, inside the electrifying atmosphere of the packed State Farm Center, Tyler Kolek’s highly anticipated breakthrough unfolded against the formidable ranked Fighting Illini, led by standout Terrance Shannon Jr. The stage was set for Kolek’s grand entrance into the spotlight, and he did not disappoint.

What makes Kolek’s performance even more extraordinary is the fact that he achieved 24 points, six rebounds, four assists, and two steals while battling through the challenges of a noticeably bruised and affected ankle. Despite the physical adversity, Kolek’s tenacity and skill on the court were truly commendable, elevating his performance to a level that surpassed mere statistical excellence.

In the face of a formidable opponent and under the scrutiny of a fervent crowd, Kolek’s coming-out party became a testament to his resilience and determination. The packed State Farm Center bore witness to not only a basketball spectacle but also to the emergence of a player who, against all odds, delivered a standout performance that will be remembered as a defining moment in Marquette’s season.

In their first true test of the year, the Marquette Golden Eagles silenced the Fighting Illini and the Orange Krush fans by stout defense against Shannon and a host of others. Impressively not allowing any two-point buckets for the final 11 minutes of play and preventing any points altogether for the last 3:11. The result was a physical, hard-fought 71-64 road victory for the Golden Eagles, propelling them to a 3-0 record for the season.

Next up for the Marquette Golden Eagles will be the 2023 Maui Invitational in Hawaii in which they will face UCLA.