Illinois 79, Minnesota 69
MINNEAPOLIS (AP)—Deron Williams had 19 points and 11 assists and Dee Brown added 18 points as Illinois came from behind to defeat Minnesota 79-69 Sunday.
Nick Smith scored 13 points for the Fighting Illini (15-5, 6-3 Big Ten), who won for the fifth time in six games despite trailing by as many as 15 points in the first half.
Kris Humphries had 23 points and nine rebounds for Minnesota (8-13, 0-9), which has lost its first nine conference games for the first time in over 70 years.
The Gophers lost their first 11 conference games in 1922-23 and their first nine in 1926-27 and 1932-33. Overall, Minnesota has lost eight straight, its longest losing streak since dropping the last 16 games in 1986-87.
Trailing 44-43, Illinois used seven quick points from Williams and a 16-10 run to retake the lead and take control of the game.
Michael Bauer hit a shot for Minnesota to cut the deficit to 59-56 with 12:44 left, but the Gophers then went cold for the next nine minutes.
The Illini were more aggressive on defense in the second half, forcing eight turnovers and converting them into fastbreak baskets.
Brown made two straight layups along the baseline, including a three-point play, to make it 66-57 Illinois with 8:26 left. The Gophers could not get closer than eight points the rest of the way.
Stan Gaines scored half of Minnesota’s first 22 points as the Gophers hit their first seven shots, including five three-pointers. His three-pointer at the 15:22 mark capped a 14-0 run and gave the Gophers a 22-7 lead.
But, the high-scoring Illini put together a 13-0 run of their own to take a 32-30 lead with 7:29 left. Brown hit two three-pointers during the stretch.
Neither team led by more than three points the rest of the half, as Minnesota went into the break ahead 44-43.
Gaines, a Chicago native, finished the game with 12 points but was held scoreless in the second half.
Aaron Robinson, also from Illinois, scored 10 points in just his second start of the year for Minnesota. But he walked off the court late in the game with what appeared to be a leg injury.
Illinois has beaten Minnesota 11 straight times.