No Magic In Mackey: Illini Leave Purdue With Another Impressive 'Roadkill'

Matthew Stevens

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. -- Any remaining magic left in Mackey Arena was no match for Illinois’ star combination of Ayo Dosunmu and Kofi Cockburn.

The inside-out duo led Illinois to a dominating 79-62 victory and the Illini’s first regular-season sweep of Purdue since the 2008-09 season.

Dosunmu, who has served as the designated closer for the Illini (14-5, 6-2) in their previous four Big Ten Conference wins, finished with a career-high 11 assists to go with 18 points for his first career double-double.

Cockburn, who struggled in his last outing against Northwestern, was nothing short of dominant as he totaled a double-double early in the second half. The 7-foot, 290-pound center finished with 22 points and 15 rebounds in easily his most impressive performance in Big Ten Conference play this season. 

"We're just tough to guard because you have to pick your poison," Dosunmu said. "I read they're playing that pick-and-roll just like reading the safety in football." 

Even as Purdue (10-9, 3-5) got the lead back to single digits with just over four minutes remaining, Dosunmu hit back-to-back jumpers to allow Illinois to coast to its second straight road win and first in West Lafayette since the sophomore guard was in elementary school.

"Ayo is becoming an elite, an elite closer," Illinois coach Brad Underwood said. "Not just with his shooting but with his passing. He's able to put it on guys in the right moments and make the right plays." 

By the time, Cockburn put an offensive rebound back in with 2:42 left on the clock, Illinois was back up 15 and folks wearing gold and black were quickly finding the exits.

Trent Frazier, which came to Mackey Arena Tuesday night shooting just 34 percent from long range, connected on 5 of 7 from 3-point range to total a game-high 21 points.

"It was amazing to watch that scoreboard and see the time run out to just know that we got a victory," Frazier said. "All week they've been saying Purdue this, Purdue that and how they're the toughest team, how this is the toughest arena. We're tough too." 

For the second time this season, Illinois guard Alan Griffin was ejected from a game. Following a contested layup by Purdue guard Sasha Stefanovic, Illinois’ sophomore guard intentionally stepped on the Purdue player with his left foot while he was laying on the ground.

With 12 minutes and 18 seconds left in the first half, game officials called for an early media timeout to head to the monitor to assess the play. Before the end of the timeout, Griffin was assessed a Flagrant 2 foul, which calls for immediate ejection from the game.

Purdue has won 15 straight Big Ten home games, dating to Feb. 2018 and before Tuesday night, it has been 96 games since Purdue has lost by double figures in its home arena (94-79 to No. 13 Michigan State on Feb. 20, 2014). 

"I thought Illinois' fight was so much better than ours," Purdue head coach Matt Painter said. "We didn't respond from the first loss at Illinois. I mean, they beat us bad and you do a lot of soul searching as a coach, you do a lot of soul searching as an individual player and then collectively you got to have that response through your actions."

The 17-point win for the Illini is the largest margin on the road against a Painter-coached program since he took over the Boilermakers program in 2006.

"They out-toughed us. It's as easy as it gets," Eastern said. "They played harder than us."

The Boilermakers were led by 14 points from Illinois native Nojel Eastern but only finished with three players in double figures.

Illinois now takes its five-game conference winning streak to Crisler Arena for a Saturday game at Michigan (11-6, 2-4) in Ann Arbor for an 11 a.m. tip on FS1. 

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