Welcome to “Good Morning, Illini Nation,” your daily dose of college basketball news from Illini beat writer and AP Top 25 voter Scott Richey. He’ll offer up insights every morning on Brad Underwood’s team:
Brad Underwood started the second half by screaming — no exaggeration — “GET UP!!!!!!!!!” at the Illinois fans after an early made three-pointer by Alfonso Plummer. (The number of exclamation points is accurate). Equally as notable on the fired up coach front, though, was Chester Frazier. When Trent Frazier got hot from three-point range in the second half, Chester had to be physically held back lest his celebrations take him on to the court. Fellow assistant coach Tim Anderson had that duty, literally holding on to the back of Chester’s shirt.
Is two fouls in the first half really foul trouble? Illinois floundered in the first half when Kofi Cockburn headed to the bench after picking up his second. The fear, of course, is two turns into three before halftime, which sets up the possibility for a quick fourth. And Underwood said on postgame radio he considered the two fouls on Cockburn “ticky tack” in nature. A third might have happened. Here’s the thing, though, Cockburn has fouled out exactly one time in his Illinois career, and that happened his freshman season.
Speaking of Cockburn, he’ll be next to have his jersey raised to the rafters. It’s an honor he secured last season being a consensus second team All-American and one he’ll likely affirm this year given he’s playing at an All-American level again. Maybe even national player of the year level. He’s just been dominant.
— Mariah Guzman (@MariahLGuzman) January 7, 2022
Stat of the night
While Trent has topped 40 minutes of playing time on a few occasions in his career, they’ve all come in overtime games. Thursday night marked the first time he played all 40 minutes of a regulation game.
Quote of the note
“It’s our whole mantra of this program. It’s our whole identity. It’s what we talk about all the time is when the ball doesn’t go in, how do you win?” — Underwood after the Illini beat the Terrapins 76-64 despite shooting 26.7 percent from three-point range as a team