CHAMPAIGN, Ill. -- Illinois senior guard Trent Frazier and sophomore center Kofi Cockburn met with the media following a 79-65 win over Penn State.
Kofi Cockburn led the No. 22 Illini (10-5, 6-3 in Big Ten Conference) with his 11th double-double of the season as the 7-footer finished with 21 points and 12 rebounds. Arguably the most pleasant sight Tuesday night for Illinois fans was watching Cockburn connect on his first four free throw attempts after the Jamaican native had made only 54.5 percent from the line this season. Cockburn finished 9 of 13 from the foul line.
"We sat down and talked for 40 minutes about this with Kofi because it's simply about seeing the basketball go through the hoop," Illinois head coach Brad Underwood said. "When he's making free throws at a consistent rate, he's a dominant weapon."
Illinois senior guard Trent Frazier saw his three-point shots fall early to provide a 13-point night and a defensive effort of running around Penn State point guard Jamari Wheeler to force the Lions senior into a night of four points.
"Everybody came in and played their butts off for 40 minutes when they were subbed in to play," Frazier said. "I truly believe that if we play with energy for 40 minutes, we're impossible to beat."
Illinois has now ended its first multi-game losing streak in the 2020-21 season, a point in this campaign that Illini head coach Brad Underwood called “a critical stage”, and is slated to have a 10-day break before taking the floor again. After the Jan. 23 game at Michigan State was postponed for COVID-19 protocols, Illinois will next host No. 4 Iowa (12-2, 6-1) on Dec. 29 in a 8 p.m. tip on FS1.