News Local/State

#2 Michigan Keeps Illini Winless In Big Ten Play, 79-69

Ayo Dosunmu

Ayo Dosunmu scores on an alley-oop from Kipper Nichols, Thursday night at the State Farm Center Rob McColley/for Illinois Public Media

Second-ranked Michigan stayed unbeaten with a 79-69 win over the Illini men's basketball team last night in Champaign.

All five Wolverines starters tallied double-figures in points, led by Zavier Simpson who scored 16. Simpson also dished a game-high eight assists.

Illini coach Brad Underwood was not surprised by Simpson's performance.

"Xavier Simpson, in my opinion, is the MVP of the league to this point," Underwood said. "So much about what they do I enjoy and like watching."

Underwood sees in the veteran Michigan squad what he hopes his young Illini team will become with experience.

"We have a lot of similarities with Michigan offensively," he said. "Same sets, a lot of the same action, look for the same thing. The difference is very seldom do you see them make a call. It's all read based."

Ayo Dosunmu scored a game-high 23 points. He said the key to implementing more offensive sets is simply getting them right.

"It's all about execution, that's all," Dosunmu said. "We missed a lot of plays, we have negative plays. We've got to execute."

Giorgi Bezhanishvili scored 15 points for the Illini. Trent Frazier added 13. Frazier and Dosunmu were the leading Illini rebounders from the guard position, with five and seven respectively.

Each team committed 14 turnovers.

Michigan improves to 5-0 in the Big Ten, 16-0 overall. Illinois is now 0-5 in conference, 4-12 on the season.

The Illini have the weekend off. Minnesota visits Champaign Wednesday night. That game tips at 8 pm CT.