Illini sweep Big Ten weekly honors

Illini sweep Big Ten weekly honors

CHAMPAIGN — Illinois made some Big Ten basketball history Monday afternoon after Giorgi Bezhanishvili was named Big Ten Player of the Week and Ayo Dosunmu earned Big Ten Freshman of the Week honors. That sweep was the first by a pair of freshmen from the same team and was also the first time Illinois had ever won both honors.

Bezhanishvili averaged 25.5 points and six rebounds while shooting 69 percent in Illinois' wins against then No. 9 Michigan State and Rutgers. The 6-foot-9 forward broke a nearly 29-year-old program record with 35 points in the win against the Scarlet Knights, which was one more than Deon Thomas' 34 points on Dec. 3, 1990. Bezhanishvili's 14 of 18 shooting Saturday also marked the most field goals by an Illini since Thomas had 16 in a game in 1991.

Bezhanishvili's career-high scoring effort, which was boosted by 29 points in the second half and overtime, was the most points by an Illini since Malcolm Hill dropped 40 on Northern Kentucky on Nov. 13, 2016. That performance earned Hill Big Ten Player of the Week honors a day later — the last time an Illinois player took home that particular award.

Dosunmu averaged 18 points, four assists, 3.5 rebounds and 2.5 steals in Illinois' wins against Michigan State and Rutgers to claim Big Ten Freshman of the Week honors. He had a game-high 24 points in the upset win against the Spartans and was 8 of 14 from the field, including 4 of 8 three-point shooting. Two of those three-pointers came in the final 2 1/2 minutes to help Illinois put away Michigan State.

Dosunmu has 12 points, six assists, five rebounds and two steals in Saturday's win against Rutgers to put the finishing touches on his first Big Ten Freshman of the Week award. The 6-foot-5 guard is the first Illini to win that honor since Trent Frazier almost a month ago to the day.