Illini outlast scrappy Wolverines, 68-53

IlliniGuys Staff

January 14, 2022

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Kofi Cockburn was a man among boys yet again with 21 points and 10 rebounds to score his ninth consecutive double-double game as he led #25 Illinois to a 68-53 over Michigan in what was easily the team's ugliest game of the season.

Trent Frazier scored 16 of his 18 points in the second half as Illinois (13-3, 6-0) earns its sixth straight victory and has now won 20 of its last 21 games against Big Ten foes.  That includes their last meeting back in March in Ann Arbor, when the Illini breezed past the Wolverines to hand them their worst home loss suffered by a team ranked in the Associated Press top 2 since 1995.

This one wasn't nearly as easy.  Michigan (7-7, 1-3) had postponed its last two games due to COVID issues within the program and announced pregame that star sophomore center Hunter Dickinson and key wing Brandon Johns had not been cleared and would not play in this game.  But the young and scrappy Wolverines slowed down the tempo for much of the game, keeping the high-scoring Illini out of rhythm and keeping their upset bid alive.

Illinois never trailed in the game, but couldn't shake the Wolverines.  The Illini built a 39-29 lead in the 2nd half - their largest in the game, but saw the visitors rally to close it to 45-44.  That's when Frazier caught fire.  The super senior - playing for the first time in two years with his parents in attendance - scored 13 points in the final 6:01.  That includes keying a 14-4 run to expand the lead to 59-48 and the Illinois lead never fell to single digits the rest of the way.

Devante Jones was the only Wolverine in double figures with 17 points.  They haven't won a game since December 18th, losing three in a row with three other games either cancelled or postponed due to COVID.

The victory keeps Illinois' Brad Underwood undefeated against Michigan coach Juwan Howard.  He's now 4-0 all-time vs. Howard with the two clashing again in Ann Arbor on February 27th.

Illinois now looks ahead to their biggest matchup to date this season, hosting #7 Purdue in a Martin Luther King Jr. Day special.  It will be an 11am tipoff and the game will be televised by FOX.

Stay with IlliniGuys.con for complete postgame coverage and analysis.

(Cover photo courtesy Wolverines Wire/USA Today)

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