Minnesota used a 27-6 run midway through the second half to take control of a game that Illinois led for most of the first 25 minutes, and the Golden Gophers earned an 86-75 win Wednesday night in Minneapolis.
Five players scored in double figures for the Golden Gophers (16-5, 6-4 Big Ten), led by Amir Coffey with 18 points. Jordan Murphy scored 16 points and grabbed 10 rebounds, while Gabe Kalscheur added 14 points. Isaiah Washington and Daniel Oturu came off the bench to tally 12 and 11, respectively.
Trent Frazier starred in a losing cause for the Fighting Illini (6-15, 2-8), pouring in a game-high 30 points on 10-of-14 shooting, but he didn’t get enough help. Illinois’ only other double-figure scorers were reserves Andres Feliz and Tevian Jones, who scored 11 and 10, respectively.
Trailing 47-42 after Frazier canned two foul shots with 16:08 left in the game, Minnesota suddenly buried Illinois. Murphy dunked with 14:29 remaining to give the Gophers the lead for good at 50-48, and Coffey’s pullup with 12:56 on the clock upped the margin to 55-48.
A three-point play by Coffey with 8:17 left finished the impressive spurt and put Minnesota ahead by 69-53, a margin the Illini were unable to overcome.
After blowing out Minnesota by 27 points in the teams’ first meeting three weeks ago, Illinois controlled most of the first half in the rematch. The Illini got out to a pair of five-point leads before the first TV timeout and trailed for just over 2 1/2 minutes in the half.
The Gophers didn’t manage their first lead until Washington drove for a layup at the 8:37 mark to make it 23-21. A 3-pointer by Coffey with 59 seconds remaining made it 35-34 Minnesota, but the Illini closed the half on a high note.
After Washington’s layup with seven seconds left put the Gophers up by a point, Frazier pulled up on the left wing and swished a 3-pointer with 1.2 seconds on the clock to give Illinois a 39-37 edge at intermission.
—Field Level Media