Illinois tops Iowa 87-83 to move to 2-0 in Big Ten

Kofi Cockburn scored 17 points and grabbed a career-high 18 rebounds, and the Illini scored 24 points from the free-throw line to hold off the Hawkeyes.

SHARE Illinois tops Iowa 87-83 to move to 2-0 in Big Ten

Center Kofi Cockburn had 17 points and a career-high 18 rebounds in Illinois’ victory Monday against Iowa in Iowa City.

Charlie Neibergall/AP

IOWA CITY, Iowa — Kofi Cockburn scored 17 points and grabbed a career-high 18 rebounds and Illinois scored 24 points at the free-throw line to hold off Iowa, 87-83 on Monday night to go 2-0 to start Big Ten play

The Illini (7-2, 2-0) converted 24 of 28 at the line (85.7%) and pulled down 52 rebounds, 33 off the defensive glass and 13 by Cockburn.

Despite being out-rebounded by 29 boards, Iowa managed to claw its way out of a 15-point deficit with just under nine minutes left.

Keegan Murray, the leading scorer in the country coming into the game, went on a personal 10-2 run to get the Hawkeyes within three, 74-71 with 1:33 left, but Alfonso Plummer buried a 3 and knocked down two from the line. Illinois hit 10 of 12 from the line in the final 62 seconds to close out the victory.

Plummer finished with 21 points, hitting 4 of 8 from beyond the 3-point arc and 5 of 5 at the line, to lead Illinois. Jacob Grandison scored 12 of his 21 points from beyond the arc and Trent Frazier was 3 of 5 from 3-point range and finished with 18 points and eight rebounds. 

Murray, who missed Friday’s Big Ten opener at No. 2 Purdue after injuring his ankle in a win over Virginia, finished with 19 points and three steals but struggled from the line, hitting just 4 of 7 shots. Tony Perkins had 16 points, Patrick McCaffery scored 12 and Ahron Ulis added 11 for the Hawkeyes.

After back-to-back losses to No. 2 Purdue and Illinois, Iowa finds itself 7-2 heading into Thursday’s game at Iowa State.

Illinois plays host to No. 11 Arizona on Saturday.

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