DURHAM, N.C. — Junior guard Ayo Dosunmu led six Illini in double figures, as #6 Illinois led through most of an 83-68 win at #10 Duke in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge Tuesday night.
Dosunmu scored 18 points, grabbed 12 rebounds, and had five assists to lead Illinois in all three categories. After the game, Dosunmu said he tries to help the team however he can.
“I just try to be an all-around player,” Dosunmu said. “Let that speak for itself. Score when I have to score, pass when I have to pass, rebound when I have to rebound. That’s just the mentality I have, being a complete player.”
Kofi Cockburn had 13 points, plus eight rebounds. Andre Curbelo added a dozen points, Giorgi Bezhanishvili eleven. Trent Frazier and Da’Monte Williams tallied ten.
Coach Brad Underwood said offensive balance makes his team hard to defend.
“We’re making the extra pass, and we call it the hockey assist,” Underwood said. “We’ve got six guys in double figures. Pick your poison, and we know everybody’s going to load up to Ayo, and that shows his maturity and growth. We’re a good passing team, so offense becomes a little more efficient when you can do that.”
Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski praised his opponent’s assertiveness.
“We got beat by a team that’s better than we are, and older,” Krzyzewski said. “More mature, and they kind of imposed their will on us.”
Matt Hurt led all scorers with 19 points for Duke, despite playing through foul trouble for most of the game. Jeremy Roach added 13 points for the Blue Devils, and distributed a game-high seven assists.
Duke drops to 2-2 on the year, having already lost at home to Michigan State. The Illini improve to 4-1.
Dosunmu said the win was a vindication after the frustrating loss to #2 Baylor last week, and a launching pad for the annual Braggin’ Rights game against Missouri on Saturday.
“It was put up or shut up. We had an opportunity to play two really good teams,” Dosunmu said. “We accepted the challenge. We came and played well, and now we have a very hungry Missouri team that’s been playing great.”
That game will not be played in its normal location of St. Louis because of COVID-19. Instead, having won a coin toss, the Tigers will host Illinois in Columbia, with no fans in attendance. Tip time is 7:00 p.m.
Rob McColley covers University of Illinois sports for WILL.