CHAMPAIGN (WCIA) — Illinois basketball won its season opener against Jackson State 71-47 Tuesday night at State Farm Center with nearly a starting lineup of players sidelined, including their two best standouts. Andre Curbelo (concussion protocol), Kofi Cockburn (NCAA suspension), Trent Frazier (shoulder) and Austin Hutcherson (tailbone) all were in street clothes in the first home game with fans since March 8, 2020.
As a result of all the missing players, Da’Monte Williams, Alfonso Plummer, Jacob Grandison, Omar Payne and Coleman Hawkins started the game. Only Williams and Grandison had ever started for the Illini before, with Williams taking on a new role as point guard as a result.
Grandison scored a game high 20 points, Hawkins added 13 along with eight rebounds and Benjamin Bosmans-Verdonk pitched in a career high 10 rebounds to lead the Illini (1-0), who shot 43 percent from the floor but 42 percent from 3 for the game.
Illinois returns to the court Friday night hosting Arkansas State for an 8 p.m. tip at State Farm Center.