Illini beat the Tigers for Braggin' Rights

ST. LOUIS - Kofi Cockburn’s 25 points and 14 rebounds led Illinois over the Missouri Tigers in the 41st Braggin’ Rights game, 88-63.

The Illini win snapped a three-game losing streak in the series. Illinois started to jump out over the Tigers after they went on a 10-0 run midway through the first half, but the Tigers responded with their own 11-0 run right after.

The closest the Tigers made this game was a six point deficit at 31 to 25 with under three minutes left in the first half, but a pair of Trent Frazier threes propelled the Illinini to lead 40-26 at halftime. Cockburn and Alfonso Plummer netted 10 points a piece in the half for the Illini, but Kobe Brown led the way for Missouri with 10 points.

“I thought Amari (Davis) missed a lay-up at the rim to cut it,” said Missouri head coach Cuonzo Martin. “I thought Trent hit two threes. I’ll have to see on film if they were break down threes, but I felt good coming out of the half.”

Illinois carried the momentum from the end of the first half to the second. The combination of three-point shooting and offense in the post from Cockburn gave the Illini a lead of 37 with under ten minutes to go in the game.

Illinois shot 57% overall from the field and 48% from beyond the arc (12 of 25). It was the sixth straight game that the Illini have made at least 11 3-pointers.

Missouri, on the other hand, shot 37% from the field and 26% from distance (6 of 23).

“It’s a struggle because you want to see your team make shots,” said Martin. “But the thing I always go back to and continue to work on is if you get open looks, they’ll fall. If you’re a three-point shooter and you work on it in practice, eventually they’ll fall.”

Coach Martin reflects on the loss to Illinois and what the Tigers will do moving forward. 

Jarron Coleman led the way for the Tigers with 16 points off the bench. Kobe Brown finished with 13 points despite his ten in the first, shooting 5-16 from the field.

Martin, although disappointed with the outcome of the game, gave a clear message to his team.

“Try the best you can to enjoy the holidays,” said Martin. “That’s what this season is about, to enjoy and enjoy it with your family. Deal with this loss. We’ll correct what needs to be corrected, but try the best to enjoy the holidays.”

The Tigers get a break before Christmas, but their schedule does not get any easier . They start conference play in the S.E.C. when they face Kentucky on the road on Dec. 29th.

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Braggin’ Rights game, Missouri Tigers, Illinois Fighting Illini