Trent Frazier scores season-high 29 points, Illinois men’s basketball takes down Nebraska in Lincoln

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Photo Courtesy of Fighting Illini Athletics

Trent Frazier attempts a shot during Illinois men’s basketball’s game against Nebraska at Pinnacle Bank Arena in Lincoln on Tuesday night. Trent Frazier finished with a season-high 29 points and Kofi Cockburn notched an eighth straight double-double in the 81-71 win.

By Christian Jones, Staff Writer

A season-high 29 points from Trent Frazier carried the Illini to victory against Nebraska on Tuesday night at Pinnacle Bank Arena in Lincoln.

It was a close game throughout, but a late 16-6 run by the Illini sealed an 81-71 victory. 

Nebraska started the first half on a 16-8 run, fueled primarily on the offensive end by Derrick Walker, who also did a good job slowing down Kofi Cockburn on the other end. 

After Nebraska’s Lat Mayen opened the scoring with a three, Walker and Cockburn went back and forth for a few possessions in a classic big-man battle. 

Walker won the battle early, making two of three attempts down low and showing off impressive touch around the hoop. Cockburn looked uncomfortable, and he made just one field goal and missed two free throws early

Nebraska showed more effort on defense at the start, and it resulted in an early lead.

Kofi Cockburn got an early break, heading to the bench five minutes into the first half, but he would return less than two minutes later. 

In that time, the Illini went on a 7-0 run to bring the deficit to two points. The run was capped off by a Trent Frazier steal after which he scored a contested fast-break bucket to reduce what was once a 12-point Cornhusker lead to just one basket.

Nebraska’s Alonzo Verge Jr. responded with a layup on a fast break to make it a 21-17 game with 10 minutes left in the half.

The Illini then scored on three straight possessions while stopping Nebraska on the other end, allowing them to take their first lead of the game. Cockburn scored on two of the three possessions.

Much of Nebraska’s early success came from speeding the game up with fast offense and intense defensive effort. Once the Illini slowed things down, the Cornhuskers looked much less intimidating. 

Nebraska led 34-31 at halftime, and it would extend its lead to five at the start of the second half. 

Cockburn continued to struggle in the second half but still finished the game with his eighth straight triple double with 16 points and 13 rebounds.

Trent Frazier took over in the second half in which he scored 20 points and made two 3-pointers.

After Nebraska freshman Bryce McGowens made two free throws with less than four minutes to go, the game was tied 65-65. 

Frazier missed a mid-range jumper on the next possession, but fortunately for him Coleman Hawkins was in perfect position to tap it back in, but he also missed. Hawkins proceeded to miss a second tip-in before making the third attempt to give the Illini the lead again.

McGowens attacked the hoop on the other end, but was denied by Omar Payne, who slapped the ball off the backboard and secured the rebound.

Payne would connect on an alley-oop slam on the next possession, and Da’Monte Williams followed that up with a right-wing three to give Illinois a 72-65 lead. 

The Cornhuskers never recovered after this, and they scored just six points after Williams’ three, though McGowens did throw down a vicious dunk in garbage time. He finished with 19 points and six rebounds.

Omar Payne had his best game of the season, scoring eight points to go with five rebounds and four blocks. Jacob Grandison added 12 points, and Alfonso Plummer scored nine.

The Illini have won their sixth straight and remain undefeated in league play with a 5-0 conference record. Illinois will take on Michigan at State Farm Center in Champaign on Friday night. 

 

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