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Cockburn sidelined, Illinois drops second straight

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Another tough loss.

NCAA Basketball: Illinois at Maryland Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Nothing comes easy in the Big Ten, especially without one of the league’s best players.

Kofi Cockburn didn’t make the trip to Maryland because of a concussion he suffered earlier in the week, and Illinois found out the hard way that replacing 20+ points and 10+ rebounds isn’t easy.

The Illini dropped their second straight in conference on Friday night, 81-65, this time at the hands of the Terrapins in College Park.

Benjamin Bosmans-Verdonk started in place of the injured Cockburn after providing great defensive minutes off the bench on Monday against arguably the nation’s best frontcourt duo in Trevion Williams and Zach Edey. He immediately made an impact assisting on Illinois’ first basket of the game, but unfortunately, that was about it for his production.

Both offenses came roaring out of the gates. For Illinois, most of that first-half explosion came in the form of Alfonso Plummer. The Utah transfer connected from deep on each of his first three attempts and four of his first six tries to lead all scorers with 14 points at the break.

Defensively though, the Illini struggled to keep the Terrapins out of the paint (40 points) and when they did, Maryland’s bigs were there to clean up the misses. Illinois struggled to contain Qudus Wahab and Donta Scott, the latter of whom went for a career-high 25 points on 9-of-12 shooting to go along with 6 boards.

It was the Illini’s offense that went ice cold down the stretch, however, and proved to be the difference maker. Illinois failed to make a field goal in the final five minutes of the game as Maryland pulled away, thanks in part to an 11-0 run to close the game.

STAT STUFFERS

  • Trent Frazier (ILL): 13 points, 5 assists, 3 rebounds
  • Alfonso Plummer (ILL): 18 points, 4 rebounds, 2 assists
  • Fatts Russell (UM): 15 points, 7 rebounds
  • Donta Scott (UM): 25 points, 6 rebounds, 2 assists

SOUND SMART

Congrats to BBV who notched his first career start in place of Kofi Cockburn.

YOU GOTTA SEE THIS

Shot.

Chaser.

TWEET OF THE GAME

Presented without context.

WHO’S NEXT

Another one of the league’s best comes to town on Tuesday.

The Spartans of Michigan State are slated for a 6 p.m. CT tip that you can catch on ESPN.