Terrance Shannon Jr. leads No. 13 Illinois past Minnesota 105-97

Updated Feb. 29, 2024 12:41 a.m. ET

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (AP) — Terrance Shannon Jr. scored 29 points, Marcus Domask had 22 and Coleman Hawkins added 20 to lead No. 13 Illinois to a 105-97 victory over Minnesota on Wednesday night.

Dain Dainja had 11 points and six rebounds for the Illini (21-7, 12-5 Big Ten), who scored more than 85 points for the 10th time in 12 games.

Dawson Garcia scored 29 points and Cam Christie had 23 for Minnesota (17-11, 8-9). Mike Mitchell Jr. added 17 points, Pharrel Payne had 15 and nine rebounds and Elijah Hawkins had 10 points and 12 assists.

Minnesota led 63-62 with 14:15 left, but a jumper by Shannon put Illinois ahead for good.


Illinois shot 61.3% from the field and Minnesota shot 60%, including 14 of 20 on 3-pointers. The teams combined for just nine turnovers, five by the Gophers and four by the Illini.

“People think the Big Ten is a big, slow, slug ‘em out league. It’s not,” Illinois coach Brad Underwood said. “We have Zach (Purdue's 7-foot-4 Zach Edey), but this a guard league. The best guards I've seen in our league since I've been here. You have to score to win in our league.

“Look at Minnesota's guards, Elijah Hawkins is special. He had 12 assists and no turnovers against us. And (freshman) Cam Christie looks like a pro already.”

Minnesota coach Ben Johnson said Illinois is a great offensive team, “so we knew we weren't going to hold them in the 60s or 70s. We forced them into some tough shots, and they made them.”

The win was Illinois’ eighth straight over Minnesota and kept the Illini in second place in the Big Ten, two games behind No. 2 Purdue (14-3) with three conference games remaining for both teams.

Illinois improved to 15-2 at home with one game to go at the State Farm Center.


Minnesota: Despite the loss, it has been a remarkable turnaround season for the Gophers. They were 7-18 at this point of the season last year. The 10-win improvement is the best in the Big Ten and one of the best nationally.

Illinois: The Illini went off script and dug deep into their bench Sunday in a 95-85 win over Iowa. Ten players logged 10-plus minutes and all 10 scored at least two points. Ten players saw action against Minnesota, eight scored, and the Illini bench outscored Minnesota’s reserves 18-3.


A mid-range jumper by Shannon with 1:35 left in the first half gave him 1,000 points in his two seasons at Illinois. He played three seasons at Texas Tech before transferring to Illinois. He’s 69 points away from scoring 2,000 points in his collegiate career. Shannon has scored in double figures in 32 straight games, including 10 last season.


Christie is one of the youngest college basketball players in the country. He turned 18 in July. His older brother Max scored six points at Illinois in 2022 while playing his only season at Michigan State. He now plays for the Lakers after being selected in the second round of the 2022 NBA draft by Los Angeles.


The second of two meetings between Illinois and Minnesota last season was postponed because of COVID-19 issues on the Gophers. The game was scheduled for Feb. 7, 2023, and played Feb. 20, 2023. Illinois won 78-69 at State Farm Arena.


Minnesota: Home vs. Penn State on Saturday.

Illinois: At Wisconsin on Saturday.

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