Kofi Cockburn notched his fourth double-double of the season with 18 points and 17 rebounds, and Giorgi Bezhanishvili added 16 points and nine boards to lead Illinois to a 85-57 victory over The Citadel on Wednesday in Champaign, Ill.
Cockburn broke an Illini single-game record for rebounds by a freshmen late in the second half, which was previously held by Deon Thomas. The 7-foot center shot 8-for-13 from the field. Cockburn entered the nonconference game averaging 14.3 points, 11.5 rebounds and 1.5 blocks per game.
Sophomore guard Ayo Dosunmu finished with 16 points on 7-for-15 shooting, Trent Frazier had nine points and five assists, and Andres Feliz scored eight points for Illinois (4-1).
Kaelon Harris was one of the lone bright spots for the Bulldogs (1-4) with 19 points and 10 boards. Freshman guard Rudy Fitzgibbons III scored nine off the bench.
Feliz sank a layup and Dosunmu and Cockburn added consecutive dunks to pad Illinois’ lead to 73-45 with 7:38 to play.
The Illini were averaging 19.5 turnovers per game, tied for 342nd out of 350 teams in the country, but they committed just 13 turnovers. Illinois had its second straight strong game limiting opponents’ 3-point percentage, as the Bulldogs shot 26.3 percent (10-for-38) from long range after Hawaii was 3-for-22 (13.6 percent) in the Illini’s Monday win.
Cockburn scored eight points to spark the Illini to an 17-7 lead with eight minutes remaining in the first half. The Bulldogs struggled getting offensive rebounds and made just three of their first 21 shots, including 1 for 12 from beyond the arc. The Illini’s defense played a big part in the Bulldogs shooting 12.9 percent in the first 17 minutes.
The Illini had their early shooting problems, misfiring on all eight of their first half 3-point tries, but their strong inside play and rebounding led to a 28-10 lead at the 4:04 mark.
Illinois finished the first half shooting 37.1 percent to go with 29 rebounds to lead 34-20. The Bulldogs shot 19.4 percent (7-for-36) before the break.
—Field Level Media