EVANSTON (WCIA) — Illinois head coach Brad Underwood didn’t have a lot to say at halftime of Illinois basketball’s game at Northwestern Thursday night. The Illini were outplayed in nearly every way, trailing 43-28 at Welsh-Ryan Arena.
“I was more disappointed in he way that we chose to perform and we chose to perform poorly,” Underwood said. “Very sloppy and with very little energy.”
The fourth-year Illini coach let his players do the talking, and they stepped up to the challenge. The Illini (9-3, 5-1 B1G) started the second half on a 25-5 run and never looked back, holding the Wildcats (6-4, 3-3) to just 13 second half points. The totals are eye-popping, a 40-point differential, 53-13.
“These guys were mad at half, they were upset at themselves, they were really disappointed and to come out in the second half and hold a team to eight percent, two field goals, I have not been a part of that,” Underwood said.
Kofi Cockburn led the way with a double-double in the second half alone. The sophomore center finished with a game high 18 points and 12 rebounds, his eighth double-double this season alone. Ayo Dosunmu had 15 points, with Trent Frazier and Adam Miller each contributing 14.
“I was in awe man, just being on the floor, you know watching that happen, being a part of it,” Cockburn said on the Illini’s second half run. “It was a really good feeling, I can’t explain how happy I was, I was in so much joy.”
After shooting just 34 percent from the field in the first half and 23 percent from beyond the arc, the Illini were 59 and 57 percent from floor and 3 in the second half, respectively.
Illinois is back on the court Sunday night, hosting Maryland at 7 p.m.