KANSAS CITY, Mo. – No. 14/15 Illinois broke open a tight contest with a decisive 21-7 run midway through the second half, which included five 3-point field goals, to pull away from Kansas State on Tuesday night in the consolation game of the Hall of Fame Classic in front of 7,255 at the T-Mobile Center.
A night after shooting just 28.1 percent from the field, including 13.6 percent from 3-point range, in a loss to Cincinnati, the Fighting Illini (3-2) seemed to make every shot against the Wildcats (2-2), as they connected on 52.1 percent (25-of-48) from the field, including 12 makes from 3-point range on 46.2 percent (12-of-26) shooting. Seven of those 12 triples came from fifth-year senior Alfonso Plummer, who finished the night with 21 points on 7-of-10 shooting, including 7-of-9 from long range.
The Illini’s 3-point efficiency came on top of a dominant performance from their All-American center Kofi Cockburn, who finished the night with game-highs in both points (23) and rebounding (13).
K-State, on the other hand, couldn’t find any offensive rhythm, connecting on just 38.5 percent (25-of-65) from the field, including 28.6 percent (6-of-21) from 3-point range, with just 9 assists on 25 made field goals. After shooting 44.8 percent (13-of-29) to help close the deficit to 34-31 at the half, the Wildcats couldn’t sustain that output in the second half, shooting just 33.3 percent (12-of-36) from the field, including 23.1 percent (3-of-13) from long range.