Photo courtesy of Illinois athletics
Illinois and Rutgers met in Indianapolis on Friday night in the Big Ten Tournament.
The last time these two teams matched up, Rutgers had the Fighting Illini’s number in a 91-88 win. It was completely different this time around. Second-seeded Illinois took care of business, routing the No. 7 seed Scarlet Knights 90-68 in the Big Ten quarterfinals.
Ayo Dosunmu did what he did all season, finishing with 23 points, five rebounds, and six assists. Dosunmu has put these type of numbers up consistently all year. Illini fans are lucky that he’s stayed for three years.
Kofi Cockburn also dominated Friday night. Cockburn ended the night with 18 points and 12 rebounds. Both Cockburn and Dosunmu seemed to just take over the game at different times. Adam Miller had a great game, finishing with 12 points himself.
This was the Illini’s fifth win in a row, and their 12th win in their last 13 games. This puts their record currently at 21-6 and 17-4 against conference foes.
This win puts Illinois in the Big Ten semifinals for the 13th time in its history. This will be its first trip to the semifinals since 2010, where the Illini ultimately lost to Ohio State, 88-81, in two overtimes.
The last time the Illini played for a Big Ten Tournament championship was 2008. Illinois was the No. 9 seed in the tournament that year. The Illini went on a run that year before ultimately losing to top seed Wisconsin, 61-48, in the Big Ten Championship.
The Illini will take on third-seeded Iowa on Saturday afternoon at approximately 2:30 p.m. CT. Iowa edged out No. 6 seed Wisconsin 62-57 in its Friday night quarterfinal match-up.
This was a hard-fought game on both sides. Iowa uncharacteristically shot 2-for-20 from beyond the arc. Luka Garza was the leading scorer for Iowa, finishing with 24 points. Two other Hawkeyes scored in double figures. Joe Wieskamp finished with 10 points while Jordan Bohannon added 11.
Illinois beat Iowa in the lone match-up earlier this year, 80-75 in Champaign. The Illini have won the last two match-ups against the Hawkeyes. Illinois now looks to make it three straight, with a Big Ten Championship appearance on the line.
The Big Ten Tournament semifinal between Illinois and Iowa will air on CBS.