CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (WCIA) — As the No. 8 team in the country, Illinois men’s basketball surpassed even the highest of fans expectations Wednesday in their season opener, dominating North Carolina A&T 122-60.
The No. 8 Illini broke a school record for three-pointers in a game, nailing 17 of them. Freshman Adam Miller and junior Ayo Dosunmu led the way in scoring with 28 each. The former Morgan Park High School teammates contributed six and five trifectas, respectively.
“Just go out there and do you, have fun. Imma do that every single game, so every single game I feel like you guys shouldn’t be surprised if I put up numbers like this, and go out and play hard,” says Miller. “That’s all I can do is come out and help the team win, I just want a perfect story.”
“We still have a chip on our shoulder because we want more,” says Dosunmu. “It’s good to get recognition that we truly deserve but at the end of the day, we know our expectations we know our celling, and we’re no where near our ceiling and I think the whole team recognizes that.”
Miller set the record for most points by a freshman in their debut. Fellow freshmen Andre Curbelo, Coleman Hawkins, and Brandon Lieb all got onto the scoreboard as well. 122 is the most points scored by a Big Ten team since Penn State set the record with 129 in 2006.
“We still have a chip on our shoulder because we want more. It’s good to get recognition that we truly deserve but at the end of the day, we know our expectations we know our ceiling, and we’re no where near our ceiling and I think the whole team recognizes that.”
Dosunmu also pulled down 10 rebounds making it his second career double-double, his first with rebounds. Sophomore Kofi Cockburn also had a double-double with 18 points and 10 rebounds. The historic day was seen in more ways than one. The Illini played in front of 139 people, with no fans in attendance.
“It’s different, especially because we have the best fan base in the country,” says Underwood. “I hope sooner than later we’re back in that position where every seats filled, and in the meantime, we’ll have to grow accustomed to what is now our new norm.”
The Fighting Illini will be back at the State Farm Center Thursday to continue their MTE. They play Chicago State at 11 a.m.