CHAMPAIGN (WCIA) — It didn’t take long for Andre Curbelo’s presence to be felt on the court Friday night in his season debut. The Illini sophomore threw up an alley oop to Coleman Hawkins for the game’s first points. Then he threw a behind the back pass to Omar Payne for a layup for the next Illini points. Safe to say the charismatic point guard is back. Curbelo scored eight points, dished out seven assists and added two steals as the Illinois routed Arkansas State 92-53.
The Illini (2-0) also got Trent Frazier back after the senior also missed the season opener recovering from a shoulder injury. He showed little effect from the injury, scoring 12 points and playing lockdown defense. Coleman Hawkins stole the show though. He nearly had a double-double by halftime and ended up putting up a game high 17 points and 12 rebounds, going 5-of-7 from the field, and adding four blocks, Jacob Grandison added 15 points, as nine different Illini scored at least five points in the win.