Illinois Basketball: 4 observations from Illini win over Minnesota

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Illinois basketball

Dec 15, 2020; Champaign, Illinois, USA; Illinois Fighting Illini center Kofi Cockburn (21) dunks against the Minnesota Golden Gophers during the second half at the State Farm Center. Mandatory Credit: Patrick Gorski-USA TODAY Sports

The Illinois basketball team opened up Big Ten play with a 92-65 win at home vs. Minnesota in dominating fashion.

After a slow start where the Illini once trailed 18-10 early in the first half, the Illini began to pour it on, going on a 22-3 run that would ultimately spark the Orange and Blue to a commanding win.

Here are four observations from the dominant Illinois victory.

1. Kofi Cockburn came to play

The reigning Big Ten Freshman of the Year had been struggling on the offensive end of the floor during the Illini’s last three games.

In those three contests, Kofi Cockburn only managed to grab one offensive rebound and shot 44.4-percent from the charity stripe. Things were much different for the big man in the Minnesota game, though.

The Illinois offense revolved around Cockburn all night.  The Illini guards would just lob the ball to Cockburn, who was absolutely feeling it in the paint, primarily with his turnaround hook shot.

Minnesota could not seem to find an answer for the big man, as Cockburn would finish the night with his fourth double-double of the year.  He tallied up a career-high 33 points, 13 rebounds, and 2 blocks to round out the victory.

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