Kofi Cockburn and Illini dominate Gophers 76-53 – WCCO

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) –Kofi Cockburn had 29 points, 10 rebounds and a four-block record for his eighth double-double of the season and Illinois outscored Minnesota 76-53 on Tuesday night for their fourth straight win in the series.

Cockburn scored five points in a 9-0 run to open the second half to help build a 50-30 lead, and Illinois led by at least 18 points the rest of the way.

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Cockburn, who came in fourth in the nation with 21.8 points per game and third with 12.1 rebounds, was 10 of 19 in the field despite being double-teamed.

Jacob Grandison added 11 points and Alfonso Plummer, who has averaged 22.9 points in the last eight games, scored 10 for Illinois (10-3), who are making their first 3-0 start in the Big Ten since the 2010-11 season. The Illini dominated the paint, edging Minnesota 42-18 with a 52-26 rebound advantage.

Cockburn and Grandison had 11 points in a 13-5 first inning, and Illinois led by 16 points in the first half. Minnesota went on to 35-28 after the Illini returned it on four straight possessions, but it was 41-30 at halftime with 12 points from Cockburn.

Sixth-year senior Jamison Battle and Eric Curry each scored 10 points for Minnesota (10-2, 1-2), which last beat Illinois on Jan. 30, 2019.

Jamison Battle (credit: Aaron J. Thornton / Getty Images)

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The Illini hosts Maryland on Thursday. Minnesota plays Indiana on Sunday.


The game was postponed for two days due to COVID-19 cases in the Illinois schedule, and both teams were playing for the first time in 13 days. Illinois had to cancel their December 29 game against Florida A&M, and Minnesota’s December 29 game was called off due to COVID-19 cases in the Alcorn State schedule.


In three previous games against the Gophers, the 7-foot, 285-pound Cockburn had 68 points and 29 rebounds. His 33-point performance in Illinois on December 15, 2020 is his record for a Big Ten game and the second-most goals scored in his career. Minnesota had Curry guarding Cockburn for most of the game, dropping three inches and 40 pounds in that game.

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