CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (AP) — Kofi Cockburn scored 24 points, freshman Adam Miller added 18 and No. 5 Illinois beat Nebraska 86-70 on Thursday night.
Illinois (17-6, 13-4 Big Ten) played without star Ayo Dosunmu, who broke his nose Tuesday against Michigan State and is expected to miss at least two more games.
Freshman guard Andre Curbelo narrowly missed a triple-double with 10 points, 12 rebounds and eight assists.
It was the most points for Miller since he scored 28 against North Carolina A&T in the Nov. 25 season opener.
Trey McGowens led Nebraska (5-17, 1-14) with 18 points. Kobe Webster and Shamiel Steveson added 12 each for the Cornhuskers.
Illinois was 30 for 62 from the field (48%) while Nebraska shot 27 for 61 (44%). The Fighting Illini outrebounded Nebraska 43-29.
It was a physical game from the opening tip. Back-to-back technical fouls were called on both teams late in the first half, and there were several minor scuffles. Miller hit two 3-pointers and made several circus layups to pull Illinois ahead.
Miller had 16 points at halftime and Illinois led 36-28.
Illinois needed this one, with three tough road games coming up and Dosunmu likely to sit out at least two of them. Terrific games from two freshmen in Curbelo and Miller helped pick up the slack against Nebraska.
Illinois might slip because of its loss to Michigan State this week, but this win should keep the Illini in the top 10.
Nebraska: Hosts Minnesota on Saturday.
Illinois: Begins a regular season-ending three-game road trip at No. 23 Wisconsin on Saturday.