CHAMPAIGN (WCIA) — What started as a strength this season turned into a weakness on Friday against Maryland for Illinois basketball. The Illini have been on of the better teams shooting three pointers all season, but made just 11 of 35 attempts against the Terps.

It is the most attempts for them since they lost to Arizona back in December, but they made 16 of their three pointers that night.

The issue revolved around not having Kofi Cockburn down inside to draw more defenders off the perimeter. There is still no timetable for when he might return from concussion protocols. The Illini are insistent they will find a way to get into the paint without him.

“We didn’t get the ball in the paint enough,” says head coach Brad Underwood. “That’s one of the things we’re going to have to figure out without Kofi. We’re going to have to shoot the ball better, and make some threes. But we didn’t drive it there to get enough layups and enough penetration.”

“He’s a presence inside. Team’s tag off him, allows us to get our shooters open,” says guard Jacob Grandison. “Again, like I said, basketball is like a game of chess. You lose a piece and the other pieces got to attack and defend and all that. Can’t wait to have him back, don’t know how long he’s going to be out. Lotta games coming up ahead, so we got to find a way.”

It may be a preview of what life is like when Cockburn moves on. Although, Illinois might have a solution to that problem waiting in the wings. Transfer Dain Dainja joined the team this month from Baylor. He redshirted in Waco last season before leaving the program in the Fall after only appearing in three games. Underwood is excited about what a year on the sidelines will do for him.

“They’re my favorite type, guys that actually have to sit out and actually can learn,” says Underwood. “To just have [Strength & Conditioning Coach Adam Fletcher] time, scout team time, to learn terminology, to go through individual work every single day. Dain is so skilled, and so gifted. We loved him in high school. Right hand, left hand, he can just handle it. He’s a little, and this is unfair cause he hasn’t done it in a game yet, Trevion Williams like.”

Dainja is not eligible to play this season because of those three appearances for the Bears.