“It felt special”: Trent Frazier finishes Braggin’ Rights career in dominant fashion in fifth season at Illinois

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Photo Courtesy of Fighting Illini Athletics

Trent Frazier celebrates after hitting a 3-pointer in the first half of Illinois’ 88-63 win over Missouri in St. Louis on Wednesday. Frazier closed out his Braggin’ Rights career with a bang, notching 15 points to snap the Illini’s three-game losing streak in the rivalry series.

By Jackson Janes, Sports Editor

With just over two minutes to play and the starters walking off the court to a chorus of cheers and applause from Illini fans, it was starting to feel real.

Though Illinois led by as many as 37 points in the second half, games are never over until the final buzzer sounds. Notching their first Braggin’ Rights win since 2017, the Illini dominated in the second half to the tune of an 88-63 drubbing of the Missouri Tigers in St. Louis on Wednesday, the largest margin of victory in the rivalry series since 2005.

While the win was special for every Illinois player, coach, staff member and fan, it was just a bit sweeter for fifth-year senior Trent Frazier, who got his first win over Missouri since his freshman season.

“It’s special,” Frazier said of the win. “Obviously in recent years was tough, but I thought tonight we did a great job. We fought tonight. They threw some punches, but we responded well.”

As soon as the trophy was brought onto the court, there was only one player who was going to get their hands on it first: Frazier.

“When that clock hit zero tonight, it felt special to hold that trophy up,” Frazier said.

Frazier played a big role in the win, hitting a 3-pointer just under five minutes into the game, which was already the Illini’s fourth triple of the night, to open up an early 14-6 advantage.

Seven minutes later, the Florida native came up big again, this time on the defensive end of the floor, grabbing a steal, though an 11-0 Missouri run cut what was once a 17-point Illinois lead down to just six with six minutes to play in the first half.

Closing the half with a bang, Frazier got hot from deep, hitting two treys, one of which came from nearly 30 feet out, in less than a minute as the Illini used a 9-1 run to retake a double-digit lead heading into halftime.

“I came to this university to play in these types of games,” Frazier said. “These types of environments, you know, it’s fun having Illini nation behind our backs, screaming and cheering on us. This is a fun game, it’s special to be a part of this game and this environment and I live for these moments.”

Frazier continued his hot streak early in the second half, knocking down two deep 2-point jump shots before grabbing an offensive rebound and finding a wide-open Alfonso Plummer, who nailed a triple within the first 90 seconds of the half.

He wasn’t done yet, though, as Frazier found Kofi Cockburn, who threw down one of his  two emphatic dunks that came within a minute of each other as Illinois went on a 12-0 run to open the second half and extend its lead to 26 points.

While he had a bit of a quiet finish to the game, or at least by his standards, Frazier registered one more assist and made a contested layup to finish his final Braggin’ Rights game with 15 points, three assists, two rebounds and a steal while shooting 60% from the field.

Though Frazier went 2-3 in the series during his five-year college career, he couldn’t be happier to close out his time at Illinois on a positive note after three years of misery against Missouri.

“We had to bring it back to Champaign this year. Our last time, our opportunity to bring the trophy back. It was special to be out there.”

 

@JacksonJanes3

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