Ayo, Kofi Lead Illini Past Surprisingly Competitive Nebraska

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The Illini got major production from their big two as they beat Nebraska 71-59 at home in a Big Ten Conference match up Monday night in Champaign, Ill. Ayo Dosunmu scored 18 points, to go along with Kofi Cockburn’s 15 points and 10 rebounds as Illinois won its second straight after having lost four straight.

Alan Griffin came off the bench to score 13 while Andres Feliz and Trent Frazier both added 11 to help the Illini improve their home record to 13-3 and conference mark to 10-6. in Big Ten ranking. The Illini are now a part of a five way tie for second place in the league, and would be the #6 seed, due to tie-breaker consideration, if the Big Ten Tournament started today. Overall, it was a tense, scrappy game that included a lot of fouling.

Said Illini coach Brad Underwood afterward: “We weren’t extremely sharp, but we’ll take it.”

First year NU Coach Fred Hoiberg, who led the Chicago Bulls for three seasons in his prior gig, saw Nebraska lost their 12th straight, breaking the school’s record.

Haanif Cheatham led the Cornhuskers in scoring with 14 points while Dachon Burke Jr. finished with 13. Thorir Thorbjarnarson and Yvan Ouedraogo each added 11. In the post game press conference, Hoiberg described this Illini team as “built for the post season. and Kofi  as “a dominant player in there.”

The Cornhuskers fell behind as much as 28-18 in the first half, but turned the game around on a 9-0 run to close out the first half before Trent Frazier made a 3/4 court shot at the buzzer. You can see video of Frazier’s 60 footer below:

During the first half, the Illini struggled from three with Dosunmu himself going 0-3. However, the sophomore from Chicago (Morgan Park) was a leader in the transition game, and did a phenomenal job as a distributor and creator in the first half, getting others involved when his shot wasn’t falling. with break away lay ups left and right.

Illini led a majority of the game, but got a major second half scare when Nebraska inched back to tie it at 46 early in the second half. A quick time out was called after Jervay Green knotted the score at the 15:12 mark. From there the Illini went on a 11-1 run that put Nebraska away for good.

The duration of the contest saw the Illini just continue to expand their lead.

Ultimately, the game was rather competitive and not the blow out that most Illini fans had expected.

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