Rapid Reaction: Kofi Cockburn stars as Illinois downs Notre Dame for hard-fought win
It’s time once again for the B1G/ACC Challenge, and that means some hard-fought basketball games are in store this week.
Monday evening was started by Iowa and Virginia battling it out down to the wire with the Hawkeyes recovering for the late win. After that game, Illinois welcomed Notre Dame to Champaign for the late contest.
Illinois played well in the first half and managed to score 41 points before the break. The Illini carried a 7-point lead into halftime, but the pesky Irish hung around all game long.
The big difference in the game was the continued strong play of Kofi Cockburn. The star big man has played well since returning to the floor and he posted a game-high 28 points for Illinois vs. Notre Dame.
The Irish tried to make a run late but were never able to make it very interesting down the stretch. Illinois hit enough free throws over the final minutes to ice away an 82-72 win.
Key Player: Without a doubt, the honor for the performance of the night goes to Cockburn. He finished with 28 points on 11-for-16 shooting while going 6-for-9 from the free-throw line. Cockburn added 8 rebounds and 2 assists while commanding double teams from Notre Dame all game long.
Welcome Back: Trent Frazier returned to the floor for the Illini. He missed one game after leaving the win vs. Kansas State with an injury. In his return, Frazier scored 7 points with 6 assists and 3 rebounds. His defensive presence and steady nature were a welcome sight back on the floor.
Key Stat: 19, assists on the game for Illinois. Illinois finished the game with 28 made field goals with the team sharing the ball efficiently. Frazier led the way with 6 assists but it was a team effort to share the ball.
Illinois improves to 5-2 on the season and will open big play with a visit from Rutgers Friday evening. That game is set for a 7 pm EST tipoff on ESPN2.