Kofi Cockburn had 23 points and 14 rebounds, Andres Feliz added 21 points and Illinois pulled away late to beat Grand Canyon 83-61 Friday night.
Illinois (2-0) worked the ball inside to Cockburn early and that opened up the rest of the floor. The Illini led by four at halftime and stretched it to 14 with a big run to start the second half.
Riding the energy from one of college basketball’s best home crowds, Grand Canyon (0-2) kept it close in the first half and made a late run to cut the Illini’s lead to four.
Grand Canyon spread the floor to make a late run and made 8 of 19 from 3-point range.
The Antelopes were no match for the Illini inside, outrebounded 52-26 while giving up 15 second-chance points on 20 offensive rebounds. Illinois also had a 44-32 advantage in the paint.
Isiah Brown led Grand Canyon with 18 points and Jovan Blacksher Jr. added 14.
Grand Canyon kept pace from the 3-point arc, where it struggled in the opener. The Lopes made 5 of 9 in the first half — they were 2 for 19 against Davenport — to stay within 41-37 at halftime.
Illinois hit its first six shots to open the second half on a 15-4 run, pushing the lead to 56-41.
The Antelopes kept Illinois from running away with it, hanging around before trimming the lead to 71-67 with four minutes left.