No. 19 Illinois holds on to take down Minnesota 59-51
By Terry Towery
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (AP) — Andres Feliz scored 17 points while Ayo Dosunmu and Kofi Cockburn added 13 each as No. 19 Illinois held on to beat Minnesota 59-51 on Thursday night.
It was the seventh consecutive win for the Fighting Illini (16-5, 8-2 Big Ten). They moved into a first-place tie with No. 14 Michigan State in the Big Ten.
Daniel Oturu led the Golden Gophers (11-10, 5-6) with a game-high 20 points and Alihan Demir added eight points.
Both teams shot poorly. The Illini shot 33% and Minnesota made 32% of its attempts from the field.
Minnesota rallied from a seven-point deficit with three minutes to play to pull within one point with 1:43 left on Orturu’s layup. Giorgi Bezhanishvili was fouled with 1:30 left and made both free throws. Feliz later made two free throws to help seal the win.
Illinois led 24-20 at halftime.
There was an announcement during halftime to evacuate the State Farm Center due to “a fire emergency.” The capacity crowd stood and appeared to confused for a couple of minutes. The alarm was later silenced and it was determined to be a false alarm.
Minnesota: The Gophers have lost three of four games and it’s clear Oturu needs more help. They need to have a double-digit scorer, or two, join him in the box score to win.
Illinois: The surprising team needed a win to regain its place atop the conference standings, tied with with Spartans.
Minnesota: Hosts Wisconsin on Wednesday.
Illinois: Play at No. 18 Iowa on Sunday.