Trent Frazier quiets energetic Indiana crowd, scores game-high 23 points in Illinois’ 74-57 win

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Photo Courtesy of Illinois Athletics

Trent Frazier takes a jump shot during Illinois men’s basketball’s game against Indiana at Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall in Bloomington on Saturday. Frazier recorded a game-high 23 points in the win, though his efforts on both offense and defense were crucial in the Illini’s 74-57 win.

By Christian Jones, Staff Writer

An ultra-efficient outing from senior guard Trent Frazier led Illinois out of its first half struggles as the Illini beat Indiana, 74-57, on Saturday in Bloomington.

Frazier missed just three shots all night on his way to 23 points, four assists and one turnover. His energy was felt all night. 

“The one thing I never worry about is Trent Frazier ever getting tired,” Underwood said, “He’s the energizer bunny. He can break people with his conditioning.”

Frazier played the entire second half after sitting just four minutes in the first. Throughout the game he was guarded by Indiana guard Xavier Johnson. 

Underwood said Johnson, who played 32 minutes himself, is as good as anyone in the league at pressuring.

“They had success early in the ball screens, but, again, that takes a lot of energy,” Underwood said.

Johnson and Frazier battled in the first, and their physicality continued into the second. Early in the second half, the two were locked up during an inbound play when Frazier shoved Johnson off, picking up his second foul.

“We were just being physical,” Frazier said. “He did a really good job being physical. We battled it out a little bit at the beginning of the second half, but I try not to get into it with referees, when getting beat up or anything.”

With sophomore guard Andre Curbelo playing fewer minutes than usual, Frazier brought the ball up the court often, and Johnson picked him up near full court most of the game. Frazier handled it easily, and Illinois was unfazed by Indiana’s press. 

Underwood thought it was a factor in the game.

“I thought Trent wore them down a little bit with that. It’s hard to pick up full court; tribute to Xavier, he’s a really good player,” Underwood said. “Our goal tonight was 10 or under turnovers. We were at 10. I’ll take that number against that defense, because they’re really good.”

The Illini were rather unfazed in general on Saturday. Their offense was stagnant in the first half, when they shot 9-22 from the field. Still, they went into halftime down just two points. In the second they broke the game open.

Indiana led from the 17-minute mark in the first half until the 12-minute mark in the second, when graduate student forward Jacob Grandison hit back-to-back triples to give Illinois a 48-46 lead.

Frazier scored 14 of his 23 points in the second half, knocking down a pair of 3-pointers of his own to give Illinois a 10-point lead. Graduate student guard Alfonso Plummer made his lone three of the game in the second half as well.

“Just having a better feel for the game,” Frazier said. ”Just playing a little more free coming off ball screens, we switched up our offensive strategy, just coming off being a little bit more aggressive.”

Cockburn’s performance was underwhelming coming off his 37-point night against Wisconsin, but what’s underwhelming for him would be a great game for most of the country’s big men. 

He scored 17 points with eight rebounds, a block and two steals in 35 minutes. His consistent scoring slowly rocked the Indiana crowd to sleep after the shooters quieted them with threes.

“We know teams are going to go on runs. I think the huge thing for us tonight was to stay poised,” Frazier said. “Road wins are always the best. That’s why I came to this school, to play in these types of environments. There was emotion, energy. It’s always fun to play in this type of game, especially when you can get a victory.”

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