Andres Feliz scored 17 points on 6-of-11 shooting, and No. 19 Illinois held on for a 59-51 win over Minnesota on Thursday night in Champaign, Ill.
Illinois (16-5, 8-2 Big Ten) earned its seventh consecutive victory, which marks the longest active winning streak in the conference. The Fighting Illini pulled even with No. 14 Michigan State for first place in the Big Ten.
Kofi Cockburn finished with 13 points and 10 rebounds for Illinois. Ayo Dosunmu also had 13 points, and Trent Frazier scored 10.
Daniel Oturu had 20 points on 7-of-13 shooting to lead Minnesota (11-10, 5-6). Marcus Carr finished with seven points and nine rebounds.
Illinois closed the game on a 7-0 run to seal the victory.
The Golden Gophers battled back into contention with a 7-0 run to pull within 50-47 with 3:05 left. Oturu had four points during the run while Gabe Kalscheur knocked down a 3-pointer.
Illinois endured a cold stretch in which it missed 13 of 14 attempts from the field in the second half. Feliz made a layup with 5:48 left to end the quiet spell and put the Fighting Illini ahead 46-38.
The shot seemed to unlock Illinois’ offense, which followed up with two baskets on its next two possessions to increase its lead to 50-40 with 4:44 remaining.
Minnesota earlier went on a 7-0 run to cut its deficit to 41-35 with 12:05 remaining. Alihan Demir made a pair of free throws, Carr drained a 3-pointer and Michael Hurt made a layup for the Golden Gophers, prompting Illinois to call timeout to regroup.
The Fighting Illini opened up their first double-digit advantage when they went ahead 36-26 with 15:40 to play. Feliz made a jump shot to cap an 8-0 run that also included baskets by Frazier, Giorgi Bezhanishvili and Cockburn.
Illinois led 24-20 at the half.
The score was even at 11-11 before Frazier made back-to-back 3-pointers to put Illinois on top by six with 7:12 remaining in the first half. Dosunmu picked up the assist on Frazier’s first shot from long range, and Bezhanishvili assisted on the next one.
—Field Level Media