December 22, 2021
ST. LOUIS, Mo. - Alfonso Plummer missed his first free throw attempt after starting the season with 35 consecutive makes. It was the only thing that went wrong for Illinois Wednesday night.
Kofi Cockburn scored 25 points and grabbed 14 rebounds and Plummer added 22 points as the Illini thumped Missouri 88-63 in one of the most lopsided games in series history.
Illinois (9-3) used a series of runs to take control of this and seemed to just punish the Tigers for three years of frustrating losses in this series. After one-time Illini commit Javon Pickett hit a three-pointer to give Missouri a 9-8 lead, the Illini went on a 23-4 run to go up 29-12.
Missouri (6-6) went on an 11-0 run to close to 29-23, but never got any closer. Illinois closed the half on a 11-3 run for a 40-26 advantage at halftime, then opened the 2nd half on a 12-0 run for a 52-26 lead.
Cockburn posted his 35th double-double and provided a number of eye-popping highlights, including a pick and roll for a thunderous dunk and another slam off a tipped pass during a fast break. The All-American center scored 15 of his points in the second half.
Trent Frazier scored 15 points and hit a trio of threes in the process, all while shutting down Pickett. The Belleville, Illinois native had been a thorn in Illinois' side in previous meetings, but was just 1-for-8 from the field as Frazier completely frustrated him. Pickett resorted to shoving Frazier on both ends of the court before head coach Cuonzo Martin pulled him from the game.
Illinois continued its hot-shooting from beyond the arc, hitting 12-for-25. That's the sixth game in a row that the Illini have hit at least ten treys. Plummer, Frazier, and Jacob Grandison hit three each.
It was the third largest margin of victory in the series, all by Illinois. The Illini routed Mizzou 82-50 in 2005 behind Dee Brown and James Augustine and won 77-49 back in 1954.
Illinois will take the Christmas weekend before returning to play next Wednesday against Florida A&M at State Farm Center.
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