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Sturdy's 3 Takeaways (+2) - Purdue Edition

Sturdy's 3 Takeaways (+2) - Purdue Edition

By Brad Sturdy - IlliniGuys Insider/Analyst

January 18, 2022

Close, But No Cigar

The Illini fell in a double overtime thriller to #4 Purdue by a score of 96-88. The Illini battled for 50 minutes, battling back at the end of regulation and the first overtime, but Purdue pulled away in the second overtime as the Illini fatigued against the greater Purdue depth. Andre Curelo returned to score 20 points and Alfonso Plummer added 24, but All American Kofi Cockburn battled foul trouble and scored just 10 points against the deep Purdue frontline. 

Here’s what we saw. 

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Odds & Ends - Purdue

Odds & Ends - Purdue

January 18, 2022

I usually don't have much to say (waits for the guffaws to subside) or at least I wait until the next episode of the Sports Spectacular to say it.  But I thought I would jot down a few random thoughts about the Purdue game.

You Have To Be On The Floor To Score

There's a reason Kofi Cockburn posted season-lows in points, rebounds, and minutes played.  Just 22 minutes of action for the junior All-American center, resulting in his worst overall stat line since late in his freshman year (6 points, 3 rebounds in 23 minutes in loss at Ohio State on March 5, 2020).

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Purdue Duo Tops Illini’s Kofi in Double-OT Thriller

Purdue Duo Tops Illini’s Kofi in Double-OT Thriller

By Matt Stevens - IlliniGuys Staff Writer

January 18, 2022

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. -- Kofi Cockburn was presented with basic, simple math against Purdue: two is greater than one. 

Purdue, ranked No. 4 in the Associated Press poll, has two elite-level bigs they can count on and Cockburn’s Illini squad has just him. The equation equaled a 96-88 loss for 17th ranked Illinois in double overtime as Cockburn watched nearly three-fifths of the game on his team’s bench marred in foul trouble.

Cockburn, who is one of the frontrunners for National Player of the Year, struggled to handle Purdue’s 7-foot-4 center Zach Edey throughout the loss on Monday. Cockburn’s early foul trouble, which was the first time he’s suffered through a plague of whistles, allowed Boilermakers head coach Matt Painter to go to senior Trevion Williams against the Illini’s smorgasbord of interior players behind Cockburn.

“Staying on the court would help. The improvement of Zach Edey is through the roof,” Illinois head coach Brad Underwood said. “We’re not going to get to where we need to go with him sitting for 30 minutes, that's for sure.” 

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Luke Ford Turning Down NFL Chance to Return For Illini’s 2022 Season

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Boilers Spoil Belo’s Brilliant Welcome Back Party 

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CHAMPAIGN, Ill. -- Andre Curbelo certainly didn’t get a warmup effort before his dramatic return to the playing floor.

In his first action since being benched due to concussion-like symptoms following the 72-64 win over Kansas City in Kansas City, Mo. on Nov. 23, the Illini sophomore point guard finished with 20 points, six rebounds and three assists in 25 minutes against the fourth-best team in the country.

“To me, he’s the best point guard in the nation,” Illinois guard Alfonso Plummer said after the loss. “I feel like he’ll bring a lot of tension to other teams.”

Purdue (15-2, 4-2 in Big Ten Conference) spoiled the energy left that Curbelo gave this sellout crowd by being able to leave State Farm Center with a 96-88 victory in double overtime, the first win in Champaign by a league opponent in 366 days (87-81 vs. Ohio State on Jan. 16, 2021).

Purdue head coach Matt Painter joked in the post-game media conference that he wished Curbelo would’ve continued to be inactive just like he was for the previous 11 contests.

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Illini Basketball Preview - Illini vs Purdue

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Illini outlast scrappy Wolverines, 68-53

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