No. 8 Minnesota 84, No. 12 Illinois 67 - Jan. 9 in Champaign
The Golden Gophers handed the Illini their first loss inside the Assembly Hall, scoring 50 points in the second half to secure an 84-67 victory.
Illinois trailed by 12 early in the first half, but closed the opening segment on a 10-0 run to to cut Minnesota's lead to 34-30.
A Joseph Bertrand jumper pulled the Illini to within 44-42 with under 13 minutes to play, but that's as close as Illinois would get for the rest of the game.
The Golden Gophers used two separate 7-0 runs down the stretch to pull away. Minnesota hit 53 percent of it's shot, including 9 of 15 from 3. Conversely, Illinois shot 35.4 percent and was a season-worst 12.5 percent from downtown.
Joe Coleman scored a career-high 29 points, Andre Hollins had 22 and Trevor Mbakwe added 19 points and 11 rebounds.
Brandon Paul led Illinois with 21 points, with D.J. Richardson and Tracy Abrams each scoring 14.
John Groce: "Did I anticipate them going 9 of 15 from 3? No, I didn't. They made them tonight; they made them. I've got to give them some credit."
Tubby Smith: "When you shoot well, any team is different. And we've been shooting well -- anybody can step up on any day. Like tonight, Joe Coleman stepped up and played outstanding."
Illinois 57, No. 18 Minnesota 53, - Feb. 10 in Minneapolis
Tyler Griffey scored 16 points and Tracy Abrams hit a key 3-pointer late in the game as Illinois defeated Minnesota 57-53.
The Illini entered having just upset No. 1 Indiana and kept the momentum rolling with the road upset in Minneapolis.
The Golden Gophers were playing without Rodney Williams due to a shoulder injury and struggled to find offense in his absence. They trailed 31-30 at halftime after D.J. Richardson hit three 3s in the final four minutes of the opening half.
Both teams slogged through the second half, but each squad held a chance to win in the closing minute. Trailing by one, Minnesota's Trevor Mbakwe committed a turnover when he tried to pass out of a double team with 50 seconds left. The Illini's decision to double Mbakwe, a mid-game adjustment, was a difference maker in the second half.
Abrams sank a step-back 3 with 18 seconds remaining, gaining the final margin of victory.
Griffey paced the Illini with 16, Richardson had 13 and Brandon Paul chipped in 10.
Austin Hollins led the Golden Gophers with 16 while Mbakwe had 13 points and 10 rebounds.
John Groce: "One thing that is happening now is that people trust each other. They trust the system more. They're sticking with the game plan even when they're behind."
Tubby Smith: "Just another blown opportunity for us."
Current Illini against Minnesota:
Brandon Paul: six games - 16.3 ppg, 6.7 rpg
D.J. Richardson: six games - 11.7 ppg, 3.2 rpg
Joe Bertrand: four games - 6.8 ppg, 1.5 rpg
Tracy Abrams: four games - 6.0 ppg, 3.8 rpg
Nnanna Egwu: four games - 4.5 ppg, 5.3 rpg
Tyler Griffey: six games - 3.5 ppg, 1.5 rpg
Sam McLaurin: two games - 7 points, 3 rebounds
Myke Henry: three games - 3 points, 4 rebounds
Mike Shaw: two games - no points, 1 rebounds
Devin Langford: two games - no stats
Mike LaTulip: one game - no stats