Illinois rolls Minnesota in conference opener behind Kofi Cockburn's monster performance
Illinois got off to a roaring start in B1G play, and Kofi Cockburn was the driving force.
On Tuesday, the Illini squared off against Minnesota in the conference opener for both teams. The Gophers entered with a perfect 6-0 mark while Illinois has two losses, albeit to top 20 teams.
Minnesota was able to keep the first half close but trailed by 11 at the break, and it didn’t take long for the Illini to continue pouring it on. In the end, Illinois finished the game with a 52-point second half in the dominant 92-65 victory.
The MVP of the night was Cockburn, and it wasn’t even close. The sophomore center put up a career-high 33 points and a double-double as he overmatched the Gophers all evening long.
Cockburn finished with 33 points, 13 rebounds, and two blocks. He shot 12-for-15 from the field and was productive enough from the free-throw line by going 9-for-15 from the line.
He also provided this emphatic poster:
If someone asks you how Kofi Cockburn played tonight, just show them this clip. 😱
33 points, 13 boards and this poster for the @IlliniMBB big man: pic.twitter.com/VjDJSBmqw6
— Big Ten Network (@BigTenNetwork) December 16, 2020
Cockburn was also the first D-I player to put up these kinds of numbers since 2008:
Kofi Cockburn had 33 points & 13 rebounds in 25 minutes for @IlliniMBB tonight.
He's the 1st player to have that many points & rebounds in 25 minutes or less against a Division I opponent since Kansas State's Michael Beasley had 33 & 15 in 22 minutes vs. Iowa State on 1/26/2008.
— Stats By STATS (@StatsBySTATS) December 16, 2020
The next highest output for Illinois Tuesday was Adam Miller’s 14 points.
After the hard-fought loss to rival Missouri, this was exactly the kind of performance Brad Underwood was hoping for from his squad. Next up will be a road trip to Rutgers on Sunday.