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Illinois beats Nebraska 86-70 without Ayo Dosunmu and honors their injured star — and potential NBA prospect — on senior night

Shannon Ryan, Chicago Tribune on

Published in Basketball

Injured Illinois guard Ayo Dosunmu touched the court Thursday against Nebraska — but only before the game.

Dosunmu missed the game because of a facial injury suffered in Tuesday’s loss to Michigan State, but the No. 5 Illini figured this is the junior’s last game at the State Farm Center. With his potential plans to enter the NBA draft in mind, the team honored Dosunmu during senior night.

Illinois managed to win without its star, beating the Cornhuskers 86-70 for a season sweep and moving to 17-6 on the year.

Adam Miller found his shooting touch at the perfect time and finished with 18 points on 8 of 16 shooting. Center Kofi Cockburn awoke in the second half with dominant buckets and success at the free-throw line. He compiled 24 points and seven rebounds.

Andre Curbelo supplied 10 points, eight assists and 12 rebounds to fluster the Cornhuskers. He fed Cockburn on multtiple spectacular dunks.

The Huskers, who are in their second season under former Chicago Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg, turned the ball over 17 times.

The game was another physical one for the Illini.

 

Five technical fouls and a flagrant foul were doled out. Cockburn was whacked in the head by Eduardo Andre, who was tagged with the flagrant. Trent Frazier and Lat Mayen were hit with technicals for jawing with each other.

Dosunmu, who averages 21.0 points and has two triple-doubles this season, sat on the bench with a bruised right eye. The Athletic reported he suffered a broken nose after getting hit on a hard foul by Mady Sissoko, who was ejected for the play.

The Illini, who have three regular season games remaining, said there was no timetable yet for Dosunmu’s return.

Dosunmu released a video before the game sharing his desire to come back to the court.

“I can’t wait to return to play,” he said. He ended the video by telling fans to wear a mask before putting on his own protective face mask.

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