WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WCIA) — The Purdue fans were leaving early and it wasn’t because their team was up big. That hasn’t happened in a long time, as the only thing going up for the Boilers was another loss in their column.
It’s another check mark in what’s been a season full of rewriting, ‘The last time it happened’ in the Illini record books. It had been more than a decade since Illinois last won at Mackey Arena, that’s now a thing of the past. So is the 15 game Big Ten winning streak for Purdue in this building, as the Illini (14-5, 6-2 B1G) show they are a team on the rise with their fifth-straight win.
“This is a hard place to play, this is a loud building and I thought we did a good job of neutralizing that and a credit to our guys because we’ve been able to grow though that and grow to that point,” Illinois head coach Brad Underwood said.
Trent Frazier was on a heater from 3, the junior lit it up from the outside going 5-of-7 from beyond the arc, scoring a season high 21 points.
“We had something to prove, we had a little chip on our shoulder,” Frazier said. “We wanted to come in here and show who the toughest team was tonight.”
But it was Ayo Dosunmu that not only scored 18, but distributed as well, setting a new career high with 11 assists. It’s the first sophomore’s first career double-double.
“I showed that I’m an all-around player, my game has evolved,” Dosunmu said.
And then there’s Kofi Cockburn, the big man played like the Big Ten Freshman of the Year and then some in his 8th double-double. Cockburn led all scorers with 22 points and 15 rebounds.
The Illini are now just half a game out of first in the Big Ten. Conference teams are just 9-42 in league play and Illinois has two of those nine. That will go a long way in March. And for the first time in years, this team looks like an NCAA tournament team.