Illinois bounces back from slow start to beat Lewis in exhibition


CHAMPAIGN (WCIA) — Expectations are high for the Illinois men’s basketball team this season, making the NCAA tournament for the first time since 2013 is reasonable, but the Illini barely looked like a bubble team in the first half in its lone exhibition game Friday night.

Lewis was the better team out of the gate, opening on a 14-2 run. It was 23-12 more than midway through the first half before the Illini woke up, finishing the first 20 minutes on a 9-0 run. The second half was more of the same, as the Illini outscored the Flyers 51-21 to pull away for the easy 83-50 victory.

Kofi Cockburn finished with a team high 16 points and 11 rebounds in his Illini debut. Trent Frazier had 13 points, with Andres Feliz and Giorgi Bezhanishvili each adding 12 a piece. Freshman Benjamin Bosmans-Verdonk also was in double-digits in his first game as an Illini putting up 11.

The regular season opener for the Illini is Tuesday against Nicholls State at 7 p.m.

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