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Tuesday's college basketball: Cockburn, Dosunmu lead No. 5 Illini past Northwestern 73-66

Associated Press

Champaign, Ill. — Kofi Cockburn had 17 points and 10 rebounds, Ayo Dosunmu added 13 points and No. 5 Illinois beat Northwestern 73-66 on Tuesday night.

Cockburn’s double-double was his 14th of the season for the Illini (20-5, 11-3 Big Ten), who took control early in their sixth straight win.

Illinois guard Andre Curbelo (5) center Kofi Cockburn (21) and guard Ayo Dosunmu (11) bring the ball down court against Northwestern in the first half.

Chase Audige scored 22 points for Northwestern (6-13, 3-12). Pete Nance added 14 points for the Wildcats, who lost their 12th straight.

Illinois led 25-7 early but saw its lead cut to two points with 1:30 left. Dosunmu, quiet most of the night, hit a long 3-pointer to ice the win.

Illinois had several early scoring runs despite foul trouble for Cockburn, who sat for all but five minutes of the first half. The Illini shot 60% from the field before the break to Northwestern’s 37% and led 38-26 at halftime.

“It was a thing of beauty, the first seven, eight minutes,” Illinois coach Brad Underwood said. “But then Kofi got into foul trouble.”

Northwestern regrouped, going on a 14-4 run to cut the lead to four points. Illinois’ Trent Frazier hit a 3-pointer and Cockburn followed with a layup.

“To start the game, we were on our heels a little bit. That first 10 minutes was just not us,” Northwestern coach Chris Collins said. “We played really well, and it’s just not good enough.”

Dosunmu, a Big Ten Player of the Year candidate, only had three points at the half and seemed content to let his teammates control the offensive flow. But he was there when his team needed him to close out the game.

“I’m a winner and I look for the win at the end of the day,” Dusunmu said. “My closing instincts just took over. Some nights I don’t have to score 30 points for us to get the win.”

Collins was impressed with the Illinois junior.

“He’s an incredible player. He’s a great isolation player.”

The Big Ten is arguably the best conference in college basketball and Illinois takes no opponent for granted, Dosunmu said.

“The Big Ten is good from top to bottom,” he said. “It feels good for us to get the win. Every night is a dogfight in this conference, no matter who we are playing.”

“They’re terrific,” Collins said. “There’s a reason they’re a top-5 team – they win a lot.”

More Big Ten

(At) Maryland 64, Nebraska 50: Aaron Wiggins had 21 points and matched a season-high with 11 rebounds, leading Maryland to victory over Nebraska in the first of back-to-back games between the teams.

Maryland was previously scheduled to host Nebraska on Jan. 16, but the game was postponed due to health and safety protocols within the Cornhusker program. The Terrapins will host the rematch Wednesday night.

The game was tied at 44 midway through the second half. Wiggins scored 12 points as the Terrapins closed on a 20-6 run.

Wiggins was 8-of-15 shooting and has scored at least 17 points in five of his last six games. Jairus Hamilton added 15 points and Eric Ayala had 14 for Maryland (12-10, 6-9 Big Ten), which has won consecutive games.

Darryl Morsell beat the first-half buzzer from just inside the midcourt line that gave the Terps a 32-28 halftime advantage. Morsell finished with five points and is three points shy of a career 1,000.

Teddy Allen scored 18 points and Dalano Banton had 10 for Nebraska (5-13, 1-10), which beat Penn State 62-61 on Sunday that ended a 25-game conference losing streak.

Wednesday night’s rematch marks Maryland’s first against an opponent on back-to-back nights since 1949 at Miami, and its first at home since 1927 against North Carolina. Nebraska faces a conference opponent on consecutive days for the first time since 1921 when the Cornhuskers were part of the Missouri Valley Conference.

Top 25

►(At) Georgia 80, No. 20 Missouri 70: Toumani Camara scored 15 points, including a big three-point play, and Georgia rallied to beat No. 20 Missouri.

Missouri (13-6, 6-6 Southeastern Conference) lost its third straight game. It blew a 48-35 lead following a dominant start to the second half.

Justin Kier led Georgia (13-8, 6-8) with 16 points. The Bulldogs had dropped two in a row, each to ranked teams.

Camara’s three-point play with 4:55 left broke a 62-all tie, launching an 18-8 run to end the game.

Kobe Brown led the Tigers with a career-high 21 points. Mark Smith and Xavier Pinson had 11 apiece.

►(At) No. 24 Arkansas 75, Florida 64: Davonte Davis led four Arkansas players in double figures with 18 points, propelling the Razorbacks over Florida.

Arkansas (17-5, 9-4 Southeastern Conference) entered the Top 25 on Monday for the first time since 2018 and has won seven straight league games.

Florida (10-6, 6-5) turned a 15-point, second-half deficit into a lead with 4:40 left after Tyree Appleby’s lay-up. Davis and Jalen Tate made back-to-back buckets, Justin Smith blocked Anthony Duruji at the rim and Moses Moody made a pair of free throws to push Arkansas back ahead by two possessions with less than 1:30 left.

State men

►Kent State 76, (at) Western Michigan 69: Giovanni Santiago had a career-high 22 points as Kent State defeated Western Michigan.

Malique Jacobs had 17 points and seven rebounds for Kent State (13-5, 10-4 Mid-American Conference). Danny Pippen added 15 points. Justyn Hamilton had 10 points.

B. Artis White tied a career high with 20 points and had six rebounds for the Broncos (4-13, 3-9). Greg Lee added 19 points.

The Golden Flashes improve to 2-0 against the Broncos on the season. Kent State defeated Western Michigan 80-54 on Jan. 9.