Illini Men Lose On The Road To Minnesota, 77-67

January 04, 2018
 
Minnesota's Jordan Murphy dunks against Illinois' in the second half of an NCAA college basketball game Wednesday, Jan. 3, 2018, in Minneapolis.

Minnesota's Jordan Murphy dunks against Illinois' in the second half of an NCAA college basketball game Wednesday, Jan. 3, 2018, in Minneapolis.

Jim Mone/AP

The Illini men saw another terrible start, another impressive comeback, and another Big Ten loss Wednesday night in Minneapolis. Minnesota's Golden Gophers jumped out to a 17-2 lead and won 77-67.

Jordan Murphy grabbed eleven first-half rebounds for the Gophers, forcing Illini coach Brad Underwood to make drastic line-up changes.

Underwood inserted freshman big man Greg Eboigbodin just five minutes into the game. Eboigbodin and fellow freshmen Da'Monte Williams spurred Illinois' aggressiveness defensively, and on the glass.

Williams finished with a team-highs of eight rebounds and four steals

Freshman Trent Frazier provided a spark at the offensive end with twelve points and six assists, and Illinois eventually cut the deficit to four points by the middle of the second-half.

Underwood said afterward that he'll keep his line-up changes in hopes of avoiding another slow start.

“We’re not going to stick with the same group”, said Underwood. “That’s why I changed it as halftime.  We’ve got to continue to grow. I like what Da’Monte did. I like what Trent did. I like what Greg did. Greg and Trent give us an athleticism. You know, we’re not a very athletic team, and those two guys give us a sense of athleticism.”

Murphy finished the game with 17 points and 17 rebounds. Reggie Lynch added 11 points and 12 rebounds, plus seven blocked shots for the Gophers. Nate Mason also had 17 points plus six assists for Minnesota. Amir Coffey added 16 points and DuPree McBrayer 12.

Leron Black led the Illini with 14 points on what was a cold shooting night. Aaron Jordan was 2-of-10 and Michael Finke 2-of-11 from the floor for Illinois.

Minnesota improves to 13-3 (2-1 Big Ten). Illinois is now 10-6 (0-3).

The Illini men return to action Saturday at 11 a.m. CT at Michigan.

Also on Wednesday, the Illini women's basketball team lost 76-37 to Rutgers at Piscataway, New Jersey. Like the Illini men, they have yet to win against a Big Ten team this season.

Story source: WILL