Illinois star Kofi Cockburn accidentally knocks referee unconscious while celebrating a play against Michigan

The unfortunate collision overshadowed an impressive performance from Kofi Cockburn, who poured in a game-high 19 points in addition to notching 10 rebounds and four blocks.

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The unfortunate collision overshadowed an impressive performance from Kofi Cockburn, who poured in a game-high 19 points in addition to notching 10 rebounds and four blocks.
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Big Ten Network
  • Illinois Fighting Illini freshman center Kofi Cockburn accidentally knocked a referee unconscious while celebrating an and-one on Wednesday night.
  • The 7-foot, 290-pound freshman whipped his right arm over his head and brought down his elbow directly into the back of Lewis Garrison’s head.
  • According to CBS Sports’ Matt Norlander, Garrison was helped off the floor and into the back of the arena after spending minutes on all fours. He was cleared before leaving the arena but visited the hospital for a precautionary X-ray.
  • The collision overshadowed Cockburn’s impressive 19-point performance in unranked Illinois’ win against the No. 5 Michigan Wolverines.
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Injuries are commonplace in the heat of a game, but it’s not every day when you see a referee hit the deck.

Late in the second half of the unranked Illinois Fighting Illini’s eventual victory over the No. 5 Michigan Wolverines on Wednesday night, Illinois center Kofi Cockburn hit a putback floater that further extended his team’s lead. As the referee Lewis Garrison, who was positioned on the baseline behind the basket, whistled Michigan’s Zavier Simpson for the foul, the official lunged forward into Cockburn’s path.

Cockburn, meanwhile, was busy celebrating his and-one. The 7-foot, 290-pound freshman whipped his right arm over his head and brought down his fist. His elbow collided with Garrison’s head and, according to the Associated Press, knocked the referee unconscious.

Garrison immediately clutched his head in his hands and stumbled to the floor, and Cockburn leaped forward to help the official. According to CBS Sports’ Matt Norlander, Garrison was helped off the floor and into the back of the arena after spending minutes on all fours. The Illinois spokesman Derrick Burson said Garrison was cleared by doctors before he left the arena but still visited a nearby hospital for a precautionary X-ray.

The unfortunate collision overshadowed an impressive performance from Cockburn, who poured in a game-high 19 points in addition to notching 10 rebounds and four blocks. You can watch his full highlights from Wednesday night below: