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Illinois wins 4th straight, 78-60 over Minnesota

Illinois guard Matthew Mayer (24) takes a shot over Minnesota forward Dawson Garcia during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game on Monday, Jan 16, 2023, in Minneapolis. Illinois won 78-60.

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Matthew Mayer had 19 points and 10 rebounds and Illinois used a big second half to beat Minnesota 78-60 on Monday night for its fourth straight victory.

Illinois pulled away in the opening five minutes of the second half with a 12-0 run to build a 47-36 lead. The Illini extended it to 55-41 after nine minutes as Minnesota made just 3 of 13 shots to start the half.

Illinois dominated the paint with a 54-28 edge in points and 50-29 in rebounds. The Illini held Minnesota to 36% shooting, including 3 of 13 from 3-point range. The Gophers were also 15 of 25 at the free-throw line.

Illinois has won five consecutive games in the series — and three straight at Minnesota.

Dain Dainja and Terrence Shannon Jr. each added 11 points for Illinois (13-5, 4-3 Big Ten), which hosts Indiana on Thursday. Freshman Jayden Epps scored 10 points and Mayer, a super senior, recorded his first career double-double.

Mayer made an open 3-pointer from the corner in the closing seconds of the first half to give Illinois a 35-32 lead. Minnesota is now 0-8 this season when trailing at halftime.

Dawson Garcia had 17 points and Ta’lon Cooper scored 16 points for Minnesota (7-9, 1-5), which is back in action on Thursday against No. 3 Purdue.

Associated Press

Associated Press

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