Michigan rally fails No. 15 Illinois, 93-85 – The Oakland Press

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By LARRY LAGE

ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) — 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 really 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 I’ve coached,” said Underwood, who was on staff at Kansas State when the former Kansas player the NBA was in school. “It was electric.”

The Fighting Illini (20-8, 13-5 Big Ten) led by eight at halftime and had a 15 lead midway through the second half before the Wolverines (15-12, 9-8) rally to give themselves a chance to return. to earn.

Caleb Houstan’s 3-pointer with 2:03 pulled Michigan within two points, and Cockburn quickly answered with a hook.

Trent Frazier made a 3-pointer with 45.2 seconds left – just before the shot clock expired – for a seven-point lead. The victory put Illinois in a game against Big Ten-leading Wisconsin and 13th.

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 replaced Howard.

“We just weren’t good enough and we dragged on 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 tied a career-high 10 assists for the Wolverines. Houstan scored 21 points, tying the season high he set in his previous game.

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

“Jones played really well for them, which is good,” Underwood said. “We did a very good job on Hunter.”

Michigan’s Moussa Diabate and Terrance Williams returned from a one-game suspension, resulting from the Wisconsin scrimmage. Diabaté 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.

BIG PICTURE

Illinois: After losing three of the previous five games, the Illini put on a strong performance on the road to stay in contention for the Big Ten Championship.

Michigan: The Wolverines have work to do to earn an NCAA Tournament bid with a grueling schedule to finish the regular season with four games in eight days.

“The fact that we’re on spring break is actually going to help because they can decompress,” Martelli said. “But it’s also a challenge because it’s lonely and there’s no one around.”

LET’S GO!

Illinois hit 71% of their shots in the first half, finishing on 57% shooting, and Michigan hit 51% of their attempts.

“There wasn’t a lot of defense being played,” Underwood said.

HE SAID IT

“We don’t have a big rim presence,” Martelli said. “I think we’re last in the Big Ten in blocked shots per game. We have to improve on that.

Michigan entered the game 10th in the Big Ten in blocked shots, averaging 2.9 per game.

MONITORING

Plummer had 26 points in his previous game and tied a school record with 8 3-pointers in a loss to Ohio State.

“Plummer was spectacular,” Underwood said.

CONSEQUENCES OF THE SURVEY

The Illini can stay in the same spot in the Top 25 after losing to No. 22 Ohio State by three runs and beating Michigan.

FOLLOWING

Illinois: Ends the regular season at home to Penn State on Thursday and No. 25 Iowa on Saturday.

Michigan: Closes out the regular season, hosting rival Michigan State on Tuesday, the 25th-ranked Hawkeyes on Thursday and playing at No. 22 Ohio State on Sunday.

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More AP college basketball: https://apnews.com/hub/college-basketball and https://apnews.com/hub/ap-top-25-college-basketball-poll and https://twitter. com/AP_Top25

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