Illinois began a stretch of five home games over its next seven matchups Saturday in Champaign-Urbana. The Indiana Hoosiers managed to give the Illini their best shot before Ayo and the rest of the team took over the game in the last 4 minutes.
The Illini ended the game shooting 25 for 54 (44.4%) from the field and 7 for 20 (35%) from three. Illinois also managed to out-rebound the Hoosier 40-28, including 8 offensive rebounds for the Illini. The Hoosiers lead for 45.5% of the game, but their last lead came at the 8:17 mark of the second half. The Hoosiers also managed to force the Illini into some cold stretches over the course of the game.
Yet, the experience and poise of the Illini lead to an impressive stretch over the last few minutes of the game securing their third Big Ten win.
Ayo Dosunmu: A
Ayo remained the same Ayo Illini fans have come to love. Although Ayo had a rough shooting start to the game, he ended up shooting 11 for 17 (64.7%) from the field and 4 for 5 (80.0%) from three for 30 points. The All-American played like an All-American yet again closing the game over the last stretch of the second half. He is the best player in the country in the clutch minutes and is third in KenPom Naismith Player of the Year rankings, Saturday’s game against the Hoosier only added to his resume.
Da’Monte Williams: A-
Monte is becoming one of the most efficient players in the country in his senior season. Williams had 8 points in 29 minutes and shot 66.7% from three. Da’Monte had two clutch threes — one coming in the first half and one coming in the second half. The three Monte hit in the first half came when the Illini were struggling to get a bucket, and his three in the second half was clutch with only 50 seconds left to secure the W.
Trent Frazier: C
Trent struggled shooting against the Hoosiers — 0 for 4 from three and 4 points from the free throw line. Frazier had a bad turnover in the first half at the five-minute mark, but it was his lone turnover in the game. He also missed a 1-and-1 opportunity in the second half to push the lead to 7 with under 4 minutes to play. Though, don't underestimate the senior’s influence on the defensive end, finishing the game with a pair of steals.
Kofi Cockburn: B+
Kofi finished the game with 15 points in 30 minutes on 6 for 12 (50.0%) from the field. At times Kofi struggled at the rim but in the second half he had one really good post move in transition to push the lead. He also finished the game with only 2 fouls when the majority of the game he was tasked with guarding Trayce Jackson, the Hoosiers’ best player. King Kofi had 2 blocks and also grabbed 15 rebounds in the game, securing another double-double.
Adam Miller: D
The freshman struggled to find his groove against the Hoosiers, shooting 0 for 4 from three in 18 minutes. He also had 2 turnovers in the game. Miller will be due for a good outing in the Illini’s next matchup.
Andre Curbelo: B
Curbelo was key to turning the Illini’s slow start around. He sparked a 6-0 run for the Illini with 12 minutes in the first half. The freshman is elite off the dribble and finding his teammates for easy buckets. Curbelo finished the game with 5 points, 5 rebounds, 5 assists and 3 steals in 30 minutes.
Giorgi Bezhanishvili: B
The junior had a solid outing against the Hoosiers, most notably on the defensive end. Trayce Jackson-Davis was held to only 11 points, largely in part to Giorgi (and Kofi). Giorgi also hit a huge three with 10 minutes left in the second half, along with some perfect entry passes to Kofi in the post. He finished the game with 7 points, 3 rebounds, 2 assists, and shot a perfect 3 for 3 from the field.