Minnesota holds off Illinois, 68-59, snaps losing streak
(AP) Reggie Lynch scored 15 points to lead Minnesota to a 68-59 win over Illinois on Saturday to end a five-game losing streak.
Akeem Springs added 14 points and Nate Mason and Amir Coffey had 13 apiece for the Golden Gophers (16-7, 4-6 Big Ten)
Minnesota scored the first seven points of the second half to take a 42-35 lead for good. Mason’s jumper made it 54-44 at the 12:29 mark.
Coffey had two free throws with a minute left to put the lead at 10. Kipper Nichols hit a 3-pointer for the Illini with 33 seconds left but that was their only basket in the last seven shots.
Nichols led the way for Illinois (13-11, 3-8 Big Ten) with a career-high 16 points. Malcolm Hill added 13 points and four rebounds.
Neither team shot well but Minnesota went 7 of 19 from 3-point range to 4 of 22 for Illinois.
Minnesota: The schedule gets lighter for a couple of game for Minnesota to make a push for the NCAA Tournament.
Illinois: It just continues to crumble for the Illini. Illinois travels to Evanston to play rival Northwestern before a lighter schedule.
Minnesota will a few days to relax before hosting Iowa on Wednesday.
Illinois only has a few days to prepare for its rival when it travels to No. 25 Northwestern on Tuesday.