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Matthew Mayer, Illinois shut down Minnesota

Jan 16, 2023; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Golden Gophers guard Ta'lon Cooper (55) shoots while Illinois Fighting Illini forward Coleman Hawkins (33) defends during the first half at Williams Arena. Mandatory Credit: Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports

Matthew Mayer had a double-double of 19 points and 10 rebounds and Terrence Shannon Jr. and Dain Dainja scored 11 points apiece to boost Illinois to a 78-60 victory against Minnesota on Monday night in Minneapolis.

Illinois (13-5, 4-3 Big Ten) relied on 50 percent shooting and a plus-21 rebounding advantage to secure its fourth straight victory. Mayer went 8-for-14 from the field and finished in double figures for the ninth time in the past 10 games.

Minnesota (7-9, 1-5) lost for the third time in four games. The Golden Gophers scored just 28 points in the second half while shooting 27.6 percent after the break and 36.2 percent for the game.

Dawson Garcia led the Golden Gophers with 17 points to go with six rebounds and four assists. Ta’Lon Cooper followed with 16 points, while Pharrel Payne had a team-best seven rebounds and four assists.

Jayden Epps scored 10 points for Illinois, and Sencire Harris grabbed eight rebounds.

After falling behind 36-35 on a Jamison Battle jumper early in the second half, the Fighting Illini seized control by scoring 12 straight points over a 2:29 span.

The spurt put Illinois ahead by 11 points, and Minnesota came no closer than nine the rest of the way while trailing by as many as 25.

Mayer paced Illinois to a 35-32 lead at the break, scoring 10 points on 4-for-8 shooting, including a 2-for-5 effort from deep.

The Fighting Illini took a 21-14 advantage on Epps’ driving layup with 9:59 before the break, but the Golden Gophers stuck around, tying the game at 32 on Cooper’s jumper in the final minute of the half.

Mayer swished a trey on the next possession to give Illinois the lead. Garcia scored a team-high nine points for Minnesota in the first half, while three teammates had six apiece.

Illinois leads the all-time series with Minnesota 128-68.

–Field Level Media