Illinois thrash Minnesota 78-69 to end 2-game winless run

Illinois thrash Minnesota 78-69 to end 2-game winless run

In the State Farm Center on Monday night, Illinois defeated Minnesota 78-69 to snap a two-game losing streak and claim its fourth straight victory behind a team-high 22 points from Matthew Mayer and seven rebounds.

For the Fighting Illini (18-9, 9-7 Big Ten), Mayer made seven of fourteen shots, including two three-pointers, and pulled down seven rebounds as they ended a two-game losing streak. Jayden Epps made 4 of 6 three-pointers and finished with 17 points. Dain Dainja scored 12 points, and Coleman Hawkins contributed 16 points and seven rebounds. Contributing with 10 points and 11 rebounds was RJ Melendez.

For the Golden Gophers, Jamison Battle scored a season-high 31 points (7-18, 1-14). Battle made four three-pointers on 11 of 20 attempts, finished with six rebounds, and contributed three assists. Joshua Ola-Joseph scored 11 points on 5-of-6 shooting, while Dawson Garcia contributed 18 points and eight rebounds.

Hawkins contributed 11 points and two made three-pointers to help Illinois lead 35-29 at the break. Garcia kept Minnesota in the game with 12 points on 6-of-10 shooting. Mayer’s layup gave Illinois a 4-2 lead 91 seconds in, and with 5:50 remaining, the Fighting Illini increased their lead to 26-14.

READ ALSO: Truck kills 72-year-old woman in South Loop

The Golden Gophers drew as close as three before Hawkins sunk a three-pointer for the halftime advantage as Battle countered with a three-pointer and Garcia sank a jumper to cap a 15-6 run.

With 17:29 left in the game, Epps scored the first eight points of the second half and two three-pointers to increase Illinois’ advantage to 43-29. Jaden Henley’s dunk put an end to Epps’ run, but Minnesota would get no closer than eight points after that.

Will the Illinois continue in this form as they host No. 21 Northwestern on Thursday?

Meanwhile, Minnesota wil travel to play Maryland on Wednesday in a must-win game.