CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (WCIA) — The Illinois basketball season was full of ups and downs. We’re counting down the biggest moments of the season. Bret Beherns starts us off with numbers ten through six.
10) We start our countdown with Ayo Dosunmu. The Illini sophomore proved himself on the biggest stages this season, and the media rewarded him with All-Big Ten first team honors, the first for an Illini since Demetri McCamey in 2010. The coaches didn’t see it that way, selecting him to the second team. Dosunmu averaged a team high 16.6 points per game, good enough for fifth in the conference. Ayo’s standout season, the number 10 Illinois basketball moment.
9) Number nine takes us back to January 5th when Illinois put on a clinic against the Boilermakers, allowing them to score just 37 points while holding them to 25% shooting, the worst in Purdue history. It followed a 20-point loss at Michigan State to start 2020, and the win over the Boilermakers started a season high seven game winning streak. It was also Illinois’ 1,800th all-time win, as the Illini became just the 18th program in the country to reach that milestone.
8) Another home win over an Indiana team comes in at number eight in our countdown of the top ten moments, this time against the Hoosiers. A sold out State Farm Center crowd was rocking when the Illini won their 20th game of the season, taking down an Indiana team fighting for it’s NCAA tournament life. It was Illinois’ fourth win in a row and firmly cemented the team in the Big Dance.
7) Number seven goes to the Illini crowd on January 7th. Another sold out arena to see #20 Illinois try and get some revenge on the 9th ranked Maryland. With ESPN lead anchor Scott Van Pelt in the house to see his beloved Terps, the Illini put on a show early, going up 14 points just eight minutes in. But Maryland made a big run, starting the second half scoring the first 11 points, as the Terps left State Farm Center with sole possession of first place. The environment was second to none though, as truly old school feel taking many Illini fans back to the glory days. That’s why it’s number seven on our top ten countdown of the best moments from 2019-2020.
6) And our final moment comes on the road, as Illinois takes down Purdue at Mackey Arena. The Illini hadn’t beat the Boilermakers at West Lafayette since 2008 but they had no trouble in January doing just that, winning the game by 17. The Purdue fans left early as Ayo Dosunmu and Kofi Cockburn took pictures and signed autographs leaving the floor as they combined to score 40 of Illinois’ 79 points.