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Illinois pulls away from Warriors, 66-53

Illinois used a second-half surge to pull away in a 66-53 victory over the University of Hawai’i on Monday at the State Farm Center in Champaign, Ill.

The game was tied at 26 at halftime, and the Rainbow Warriors took a brief 28-26 lead in the second half, but the Fighting Illini methodically distanced themselves after that.

Hawai’i, which was playing its first road game of this season, dropped to 3-2. Illinois imporoved to 3-1.

Kofi Cockburn, a 7-foot, 290-pound freshman center, led the Illini with 15 points and 14 rebounds. Illinois out-rebounded the Warriors, 44-26. The Illini also went 15 for 23 on free throws, while Hawai’i went 2 for 3.

Zigmars Raimo led Hawai’i with 16 points and six rebounds. Eddie Stansberry, who was named the Big West Conference Player of the Week earlier in the day, added 10 points but was 2 for 9 from 3-point range.

The Warriors shot 3 for 22 (13.6 percent) from 3-point range, and 24 for 64 (37.5 percent) overall.

The teams took a cue from the 35-degree weather in Champaign, Ill., and started cold. Hawaii opened the game by making just one of its first nine field goal attempts, including 0 for 5 from 3-point range. However, the Warriors still managed to forge a 2-1 lead five minutes into the game because Illinois went 0 for 7 from the field to start the contest.

The Illini’s first field goal came with 14:20 remaining and put them ahead, 4-2. Hawai’i had a 9-6 lead with 10:51 remaining in the first half, but the Illini responded with a 9-0 surge to overtake the Warriors at 15-9.

Illinois led by as many as seven points, but the Warriors tied the score at 24 on a 3-pointer by Stansberry with 3:16 remaining in the half.

The score was tied at 26 at intermission, with Hawai’i shooting 36.4 percent (12 for 33) and Illinois at 33 percent (8 for 24).

The Illini used a 12-2 run early in the second half to take control for good at 42-34 with 13:04 remaining.

 More details will be posted as it becomes available.

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