If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
Illinois’ bread and butter has been the duo of Kofi Cockburn and Alfonso Plummer this season, and it was the same script on Saturday afternoon at State Farm Center in Champaign. Cockburn scored 21, Plummer poured in 19 and the Illini crushed Saint Francis (PA) 106-48.
It’d been a week since the Illini last played a game. After the 83-79 loss to now-No. 8 Arizona, Brad Underwood cited that Illinois (8-3, 2-0 Big Ten) has been sick, injured and unable to practice fully. But that wasn’t the case over the last week.
“We’ve had a good week of practice,” Underwood said on Friday. “We’ve gotten better this week.”
Underwood said their practices were very intense, and defense was a main focus. The Illini responded by holding the Red Flash to just 8-of-34 shooting in the first half, taking a 24-point lead into the break.
Meanwhile, the Illini were shooting the lights out — including opening the second half shooting 5-of-5. At the first media timeout of the second half, Illinois was shooting 71% on the day, compared to 24% from SFU.
“There’s not a bad shooter on our team,” Underwood said.
Seven different players made threes, and the Illini shot over 50% from deep. More than 10 players got on the score sheet as Illinois set the program record with 18 three-pointers in a game. Plus, Illinois held the Red Flash to below 25% shooting on the day — powering the Illini back into the win column.
- Kofi Cockburn (ILL): 21 points, 11 rebounds
- Alfonso Plummer (ILL): 19 points, 5-10 3FG
- Jacob Grandison (ILL): 18 points, 4-6 3FG, 5 rebounds
Plummer just doesn’t miss free throws. Period.
- Sticking with Plummer, his three-point shooting prowess as continued to be on display on Saturday. Plummer sunk five triples the first half, putting him on the way to the Illini single game record of eight. Not to mention he came one point short from scoring 20-points in seven straight games, and he’s shooting over 45% from deep. “I think he’s the best shooter in the country. Hands down,” Underwood said after the win.
- Kofi Cockburn notched more than 10 points for the 23rd consecutive game. The big man did not miss a shot until the second half and also grabbed 11 boards. He has now strung together four consecutive double-doubles — and six in eight games this season. With seven more double-doubles, Cockburn will have the most double-doubles in Illini history.
- Jacob Grandison eclipsed 1,000 points in his collegiate career. With his 10th point of the game on a deep three, he got his 1,000th point. He has scored 263 — and counting — with Illinois and 737 with Holy Cross.
- The Illini have made 11-plus threes in five straight contests.
- Illinois honored the 2001-02 Big Ten Championship team for its 20th anniversary.
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT
Flashbacks from 2005
YOU GOTTA SEE THIS
Check out the Illini’s record breaking three!
TWEET OF THE GAME
‘Tis the season.
ok welcome back everyone, it’s time for your regularly scheduled post-finals, pre-Braggin’ Rights, 12pm on a Saturday game against a low major, and I only know what state they’re in because they have ( ) after their name— The Champaign Room (@Champaign_Room) December 18, 2021
HE SAID IT
“It’s why I came to Illinois. It’s why I want to stay at Illinois forever.” — Underwood on 2001-02 Big Ten champs reunion.
Mizzou! The annual Braggin’ Rights game is set for Wednesday in St. Louis at the Enterprise Center. The Tigers have had a down season this year, dropping games against Kansas City, Liberty, Wichita State, Florida State and most recently a 37-point loss to Kansas.
Tipoff is scheduled for 8 p.m. CT on Big Ten Network.