Playing on a second straight night and without its top scorer, The Citadel was no match for Big Ten foe Illinois on Wednesday night.
Freshman star Kofi Cockburn, a 7-0, 290-pounder, scored 18 points and added 17 rebounds to lead the Illini to an 85-57 victory over the Bulldogs at the State Farm Center in Champaign, Illinois.
Illinois (4-1), picked to finish seventh in the 14-team Big Ten, made good use of a marked size advantage over the Bulldogs, outscoring The Citadel by 52-20 in the paint, with a 55-35 edge in rebounding.
Giorgi Bezhanishvili, a 6-9 sophomore, had 16 points with nine rebounds, and 6-5 sophomore Ayo Dosunmu also scored 16 points.
"It was a big difference from tonight and last night," said Citadel coach Duggar Baucom, whose team won at Southeast Missouri State by 74-69 on Tuesday night. "Illinois does have a lot more length, but we played very tentative right off the bat and got ourselves in a hole early."
The 1-4 Bulldogs played without top scorer Hayden Brown, who injured a hamstring at Southeast Missouri State. Kaelon Harris was the only Citadel player in double figures with 19 points and 10 rebounds, and the Bulldogs shot just 10 of 38 (26.3 percent) from 3-point range.
"They are a good team, and we didn't have much of a chance with Cockburn in there," Baucom said of Illinois. "I think at one point it was 10 to one on fouls, and you can't do much about that."
The Citadel will conclude a three-game, 2,700-mile road trip on Saturday at Marist.
"We're short-handed a little without Hayden and Jackson (Gammons), but we can still go to Marist and take care of business," Baucom said on his post-game radio show. "If we can bookend this trip with wins, it will certainly have been worthwhile.
"We'll go regroup and play somebody more our size on Saturday."