Cockburn, Plummer 'electric' in Illini's latest win

  • Illinois forward Coleman Hawkins (33) passes the ball against Michigan center Hunter Dickinson (1) during the first half in Ann Arbor, Mich.

    Illinois forward Coleman Hawkins (33) passes the ball against Michigan center Hunter Dickinson (1) during the first half in Ann Arbor, Mich.

 
 
Updated 2/28/2022 6:42 AM

ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- Kofi Cockburn dominated on the inside, as usual, and his teammates provided plenty of offense from the outside.

Cockburn scored 27 points and Alfonso Plummer had 26, helping No. 15 Illinois beat Michigan 93-85 on Sunday.

 

"Kofi was truly great," coach Brad Underwood said.

Plummer was, too, especially in the first half.

The Utah transfer had 23 points at halftime after making 7 of 11 shots, including 5 of 8 3-pointers, and 4 of 6 free throws.

"Plummer had as good a first half as I've seen any player not named Mike Beasley that I've coached," said Underwood, who was on Kansas State's staff when the former NBA player was at the school. "That was electric."

The Fighting Illini (20-8, 13-5) led by eight at halftime and were ahead by 15 midway through the second half before the Wolverines (15-12, 9-8) rallied to give themselves a shot at a comeback win.

Caleb Housman's 3-pointer with 2:03 pulled Michigan within two points, and Cockburn quickly responded with a jump hook.

Trent Frazier made a 3-pointer with 45.2 seconds left -- just before the shot clock expired -- for a seven-point lead. The win pulled Illinois within a game of Big Ten-leading and 13th-ranked Wisconsin.

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Michigan was without suspended coach Juwan Howard, who missed the second of five games for hitting a Wisconsin assistant coach a week ago. Phil Martelli again filled in for Howard.

"We just weren't good enough and we trailed for 40 minutes," Martelli said. "And defensively, we seemed to be chasing."

Frazier finished with 17 points and Andre Curbelo scored 12 for the Illini.

DeVante' Jones had a season-high 25 points and matched a career high with 10 assists for the Wolverines. Housman scored 21 points, matching the season high he set in his previous game.

Hunter Dickinson had 13 points on 4-of-13 shooting and 11 rebounds, playing in a matchup that he missed last month due to the effects of COVID-19 as Illinois won 68-53 at home.

"Jones played great for them, which is OK," Underwood said. "We did a really good job on Hunter."

Michigan's Moussa Diabate and Terrance Williams returned from one-game suspensions, stemming from the melee at Wisconsin. Diabate started and finished with 12 points. Williams did not play in the first half and had two points in four minutes of the second half.

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