The Illini took no prisoners Saturday and sent Illinois into Thanksgiving break in style with a 120-71 win over Hampton at the State Farm Center. Every player on the Illini roster got in the game and got on the score sheet. This is the most points Illinois has had since 1996 against Chicago State when they scored 128.
Efficiency was the theme for the Illini offense. They shot 69 percent from the field, 50 percent from deep and, most importantly, 83 percent from the free throw line.
Five Illini players made it into double figures, with Ayo Dosunmu and Kofi Cockburn leading the way with 20 points apiece. Cockburn had yet another double double, 20 points 13 boards, and had another dominant performance in the paint.
Sophomore guard Alan Griffin had a career night with 19 points on 8-for-12 shooting. He also hit three threes and grabbed six rebounds. Griffin has been touted this season for his hustle and rebounding but tonight he showed that he can score the ball as well. “Alan’s worked really, really hard … he’s a guy scores in a lot of ways.”
Griffin has shown massive improvement from his freshman season and figures to be a big part of the Illini rotation going forward.
Junior guard Trent Frazier had yet another stellar game on the defensive side of the ball. Frazier has emerged as the team’s top defender in recent years and has the approval of the coaching staff.
“Trent Frazier absolutely controlled the game on the defensive end,” Underwood said. “In my opinion he has turned into one of the elite defenders not just in the Big Ten but in the country.”
Andres Feliz also added 19 points and Giorgi Bezhanishvili chipped in 14. In other news, senior walk-on forward Samson Oladimeji got his first points of the season off an emphatic alley-oop dunk at the end of the game.
The Illini went the entire first half without turning the ball over — no small feat even in non-conference play — and finished the game with only 9.
Despite this great performance Dosunmu maintains that the team is even-keeled going forward. “We don’t get too high we don’t get too low … we’re staying solid, we’re staying 10 toes down and we just keep trying to get wins.”
The team next takes on Lindenwood at home in the final game before conference play starts up on December 7 in Annapolis. The Illini will look to enter conference play with a 6-1 record.