National Basketball Association
Illinois 86, Nebraska 70
When: 7:00 PM ET, Thursday, February 25, 2021
Where: State Farm Center, Champaign, Illinois
Officials: # Owen Shortt, # Donnie Eppley, # Kelly Pfeifer
Attendance: 192

Kofi Cockburn scored a game-high 24 points and Andre Curbelo nearly collected a triple-double as No. 5 Illinois won in its first game without national Player of the Year candidate Ayo Dosunmu, dumping Nebraska 86-70 in on Thursday in Champaign, Ill.

Adam Miller added 18 points for the Fighting Illini (17-6, 13-4 Big Ten), who maintained a grip on second place in the conference. Jacob Grandison contributed 14 while Curbelo stuffed the stat sheet with 10 points, 12 rebounds and eight assists, helping Illinois control the glass 43-29.

Trey McGowens scored 18 points to pace the Cornhuskers (5-17, 1-14), playing their fourth game in eight days. Reserves Kobe Webster and Shamiel Stevenson each added 12, but Nebraska took its fifth consecutive loss.

The 6-foot-5 Dosunmu sustained facial injuries Tuesday in the Illini's 81-72 upset loss at Michigan State when he absorbed a flagrant-2 foul late in the game. He is expected to miss one to two weeks, meaning he could be out until the Big Ten tourney next month.

But the Illini had more than enough to handle the conference's last-place squad. They never trailed, even though the game was close for about 25 minutes, and Illinois led by as many as 21 down the stretch.

Curbelo played a bigger role with Dosunmu out. He tried unsuccessfully on several late-game possessions to notch another assist and get closer to 10 dimes needed for the triple-double, but Miller and multiple reserves came up empty in between a couple of Curbelo turnovers.

Meeting for the second time in 13 days, Nebraska and Illinois -- which started a Senior Day lineup, including former manager Zach Griffith -- got off to a halting start. Just over eight minutes into the game, the Illini's lead was a measly 12-8 as neither team could make a shot with any consistency.

Illinois never gave up the lead but couldn't pull away from the Cornhuskers in the half. When the Illini managed to take a 23-16 advantage at the 6:12 mark on a Curbelo layup, Nebraska quickly whittled the deficit down to two.

Illinois was able to craft a working margin going into halftime, even as tempers flared. The officials doled out four technicals in a 17-second stretch late in the half, but the Illini built their lead to 11 before a 3-pointer by Webster made it 36-28 at intermission.

--Field Level Media

Top Game Performances
Nebraska   Illinois
Trey McGowens 16 Scoring Kofi Cockburn 24
Thorir Thorbjarnarson 2 Assists Andre Curbelo 8
Derrick Walker 5 Rebounds Andre Curbelo 12
Trey McGowens 3 Free Throws Made Kofi Cockburn 8
Trey McGowens 2 Steals Da'Monte Williams 4
Dalano Banton 1 Blocks Kofi Cockburn 1
Team Stats Summary
Team Points FG% 3PM-3PA FTM-FTA Assists Rebounds Blocks Steals Turnovers
Nebraska 70 44.3 5-21 11-16 8 25 2 4 15
Illinois 86 48.4 4-23 22-29 13 43 2 8 14