CHAMPION, Ill (NWN) — Jacob Grandison scored a career-high 20 points as short-handed No. 11 Illinois began the season with a 71-47 win over Jackson State on Tuesday night.
Grandison and D’Monte Williams, both fifth years senior, were the only starters to return to the floor, but Illini didn’t look out of sync.
Sophomore Coleman Hawkins had 13 points in his career and eight rebounds for the Illini.
Illinois guard Andre Kurbello was ruled out with an injury shortly before the game. Star center Kofi Cockburn (three-game suspension), Trent Frazier (shoulder) and Austin Hutcherson (tailbone) were also sidelined.
Hawkins, a forward, occasionally took over point guard duties in Carbello’s absence.
He drilled a 3 in the middle of the first half of the Tigers’ crash to top the Illini 21-2, one of 14 first-half turnovers that resulted in 13 points for Illinois.
Jayveous McKinnis and Jonas James scored 11-11 points for Jackson State.
Illinois displayed their depth, recalling three possible starts in Cockburn, Carbello and Frasier. Strong performances from Grandison and Hawkins signaled well for the frontcourt which is unproven beyond Cockburn. Illini took a 45-35 lead in the rebound, limiting the Tigers to 37.3% shooting.
Jackson State: On Friday at Louisiana Tech.
Illinois: Hosts Arkansas State on Friday.
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