Fighting Illini Top Minnesota
Freshman guard Kendrick Nunn hit five 3-pointers and led Illinois with 19 points as the last-place Illini beat Minnesota 62-49 on Wednesday night.
The Illini won for only the second time in their last 12 games thanks to some uncharacteristically good 3-point shooting and solid defense that helped them overcome a poor start.
Nunn went 5-for-7 from 3-point range, and the Illini hit eight shots from behind the arc- their most so far in conference play.
Coach John Groce says this game may have been the best defensive effort of the year, and offense did not allow turnovers late.
"We did the team we've been trying to educater our team about,' he said. "This is how you win - this is what gets you beat. And today, we did the things necessary to finish the game out."
Nnanna Egwu had 14 points and Tracy Abrams added 13 for Illinois (14-12, 3-10 Big Ten), which entered the game ranking next-to-last in the Big Ten in 3-point field goal percentage (.308).
Andre Hollins led Minnesota (17-9, 6-7) with 15 points, and Austin Hollins and Mo Walker each added 10. The Gophers have lost six of their last nine games.