Rivalries have plagued Illinois.
No. 6 Illinois lost its third straight Braggin’ Rights game, this year an 81-78 loss to Missouri at Mizzou arena.
“We know when you’re ranked and have the expectations that we do, everybody is going to give your their best shot,” said head coach Brad Underwood following the Illini’s second loss of the season.
Missouri gave Illinois all they could handle in this year’s annual matchup, the first on either campus since 1979. The Illini trailed by as many as 13 points in the second half, then Ayo Dosunmu took over.
“I love the fact that we had enough resolve to come back,” Underwood said.
The Chicago native scored a career high 36 points, 21 in the second half, but he was unable to fuel Illinois to its first Braggin’ Rights victory since Brad Underwood’s first season as Illinois’ head coach.
“I would prefer him never to have to score that many points,” Underwood said.
A late, questionable, technical foul called on Kofi Cockburn allowed Missouri to take an 81-78 lead — and waste the clock to just 10.9 seconds remaining — giving the Illini only a chance to tie at the end of regulation. A rare Dosunmu miss secured a Missouri victory.
“It sounds like I’m gonna be ticked when I look at [the foul],” Underwood said.
“Some of those calls down the stretch I definitely don’t agree with,” Dosunmu said.
Illinois Center Kofi Cockburn called for flagrant foul late in game against Mizzou pic.twitter.com/WY6nYLVoYR— Main Team (@MainTeamSports) December 13, 2020
The story for Illinois was turnovers and fouls — the Illini had 13 giveaways and 25 fouls in the game.
“We never made them score the basketball,” a frustrated Underwood said.
The pace of the game was primarily set by Missouri, with Xavier Pinson pushing the ball down the floor and putting up 17 points and five assists. The Illini struggled to keep up with the Tigers, getting outscored in transition and out-rebounded.
The charity stripe was no help for Illinois, as the Illini went just 17-of-28 compared to 26-of-31 for Missouri— two missed on purpose late in the game.
“That is what happens when you don’t make free throws,” Underwood said.
Missouri outworked Illinois in the first half, and took an eight point lead into the break.
“I’m really disappointed in our energy and our effort tonight,” Underwood said. “It was not good.”
The Illini were able to handle Mizzou’s speed in the second half a bit, and turn the game into a more half court contest — favoring the Illini on both ends of the floor. Illinois fell behind a bit in the second half, but Dosunmu kept the Illini in it.
Ultimately, it was fouls (called correctly or not) that did the Illini in for their second loss of the year.
“The fouling was just ridiculous,” Underwood said.
- Ayo Dosunmu scored a career high 36 points on Saturday against Missouri.
- This year’s edition of Braggin’ Rights was the first played outside of St. Louis since 1979.
YOU GOTTA SEE THIS
In the first half Trent Frazier hustled to get a tipped pass and flipped a behind-the-back pass to Andre Curbelo who finished off the glass.
Trent Frazier➡️Andre Curbelo pic.twitter.com/fgv02qxP5D— IllinoisLoyalty (@IllinoisLoyalty) December 13, 2020
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT
This ball movement is incredible
Andre Curbelo does a good job of getting the ball to the other side of the court, and then Ayo Dosunmu hits the trey.— Hoop Informatics (@HoopInformatics) December 13, 2020
Ayo is now 7-for-8 on the season from that spot along the three-point line.#Illini #BragginRights pic.twitter.com/lfeITV1sPC
TWEET OF THE GAME
DID YOU KNOW THAT ALL OF MIZZOU’S PLAYERS ARE FROM ILLINOIS— The Champaign Room (@Champaign_Room) December 13, 2020
HE SAID IT
“I've never dodged anyone,” Brad Underwood on the Illini’s tough non conference schedule, heading into Big Ten play.
The Illini begin Big Ten Conference play on Tuesday when they welcome Minnesota to State Farm Center. Tipoff is scheduled for 6 p.m. on ESPN2.