Minnesota rallies late but drops road loss to No. 19 Illinois

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — Andres Feliz scored 27 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.

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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.

FALSE ALARM

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.

BIG PICTURE

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.

UP NEXT

Minnesota: Hosts Wisconsin on Wednesday.

Illinois: Play at No. 18 Iowa on Sunday.