CHAMPAIGN — Ayo Dosunmu scored 22 points, freshman Andre Curbelo added 18 and No. 8 Illinois beat Chicago State 97-38 on Thursday.
The Illini (2-0, 0-0 Big Ten) never trailed in the game, scoring the first nine points and leading 47-17 at halftime. Big man Kofi Cockburn had 13 points and 5 rebounds at the break.
Adam Miller scored 15 points and Cockburn finished with 14 points and 11 rebounds. It was Cockburn’s 14th double-double in 34 career games and his second consecutive one.
Illinois shot 36 of 60 (60%) from the field and 7 of 18 (39%) from 3-point range.
Xavier Johnson led Chicago State (0-2, 0-0 Western Athletic Conference) with 10 points.
The tournament hasn’t been productive for the Cougars, a last-minute addition to the four-team tournament when Wright State pulled out due to COVID-19 concerns. Ohio beat them 86-61 on Wednesday.
Chicago State coach Lance Irvin has opted out of the season due to COVID-19 concerns. Assistant Rodell Davis is coaching the team in Irvin’s absence.
Illinois coach Brad Underwood’s game plan focused on forcing the ball inside after his team hit a program-record 17 3-pointers on Wednesday in a 122-60 rout of North Carolina A&T.
It worked. Illinois scored 52 points in the paint on Thursday, many of them on dunks and layups after beating the Cougars’ defense.
Chicago State: Plays North Carolina A&T in the third round of the tournament on Friday.
Illinois: Hosts Ohio in the third round of the tournament Friday before facing its first real test on Dec. 2 against No. 2 Baylor.