Kofi Cockburn bruised his way to 23 points and 13 rebounds in his second game back, and Alfonso Plummer hit seven 3-pointers and added 21 points as the No. 14 Illini held off Kansas State 72-64 in the consolation game of the Hall of Fame Classic.
Plummer finished 7 of 9 from beyond the arc, and the Illini (3-2) went 12 of 26 from 3 as a team, as they bounced back from a 71-51 blowout loss to Cincinnati in the semifinals to avoid their third consecutive loss.
The victory Tuesday night came at a cost, though: Trent Frazier, who scored 23 points against Marquette but was held scoreless by the Bearcats, hurt his left knee midway through the second half. The Illini guard was 0 for 5 from the field but had five assists when he was helped to the locker room by a pair of trainers.
Markquis Nowell scored 19 points and Nijel Pack had 15 for the Wildcats (2-2), who committed just four turnovers for the entire game. Ismael Massoud added 13 points after going 0-for-everything against Arkansas in the semifinals.
Illinois still wasn’t at full strength even before Frazier got hurt. Andre Curbelo remained slowed by the concussion that he sustained earlier this year, finishing with six points and seven assists while playing only 20 minutes.
Kansas State forced the Illini into 17 turnovers and turned them into 23 points, while Illinois only forced four turnovers that led to three points. That disparity was the biggest reason why the Wildcats were able to mount a challenge.
The Illini play Rio Grande Valley on Friday night.