CHAMPAIGN (WCIA) — Ayo Dosunmu didn’t tell his former Illini teammates he was coming to Champaign Friday night. The Chicago Bulls guard didn’t even find out he was making the two-hour trip south until Friday morning but after getting clearance from his NBA team, he didn’t miss an opportunity to make his first trip back to his college stomping grounds to get his Big Ten tournament title ring and watch the team’s banner raised to the rafters at State Farm Center. And for the first time since he was in high school, got to watch Illinois play a game as a fan, as they beat Indiana (PA.) 94-79 in the team’s final exhibition game.
“It was great just being back in the building, so many memories just thinking about my whole journey in this city, it was cool,” Dosnumu said. “I wish the best for this team, I want this team to better than our team was. I want this team to be one of the best because that’s how you create dynasties and I hope the streak continues and we bring championships in, that’s my goal.”
Unlike the Illini’s first exhibition game last Saturday night, Illinois didn’t put IUP away, with the Crimson Hawks trading blows and taking several leads in the first half. To their credit, the Division II school kept the score close until the very end. Kofi Cockburn scored a team high 21 points to go along with eight rebounds in the win. Five Illini scored in double figures, including 16 a piece from Coleman Hawkins and Alfonso Plummer. Andre Curbelo added 14 points and 12 assists but also committed 10 turnovers. Jacob Grandison pitched in 13 points in the final dress rehearsal. The season opener is Nov. 9 against Jackson State at State Farm Center.