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Giorgi named Big Ten Player of the Week

Ayo also takes the Freshman honor.

Brad Repplinger

Illinois’ good week keeps getting better.

After home wins over Michigan State and Rutgers, the Illini are taking home some weekly hardware — and making history in the process.

Freshman forward Giorgi Bezhanishvili was named Big Ten Player of the Week on Monday, while fellow freshman guard Ayo Dosunmu took home Big Ten Freshmen of the Week honors. We’ll pass on how Giorgi is named the best player but not the best freshman, but the duo made the Illini the first team with two freshman claiming the awards in the same week. Ever.

Pretty, pretty good.

And that’s how Giorgi has been too.

Bezhanishvili scored a freshman-record 35 points for the Illini in Saturday’s overtime win over Rutgers, making 14 shots and scoring the most points for Illinois since Malcolm Hill’s 40 in 2016. He also added 16 points and a team-high five rebounds against the Spartans last Tuesday.

Over the three games at home, Giorgi’s brother, Davit, was visiting the states, and you can be sure that was some added motivation for the freshman from Rustavi, Georgia.

Dosunmu continued his excellent stretch of games in conference play last week, too, especially against Michigan State. His two late three-pointers sealed the Illini’s biggest upset in six years, even though he battled foul trouble against the Knights in the weekend win.

For what it’s worth, the last Illini freshman to claim either award was Trent Frazier with the Freshman honor last February 12. Guess you can say Illinois is a second week of February team?

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