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Illinois win streak up to eighteen against Gophers

The Minnesota Golden Gophers lost to the Illinois Fighting Illini 84-60 Tuesday night in front of a sellout crowd at Williams Arena, reported the Pioneer Press.

The loss was Minnesota’s 18th straight defeat to Illinois and leaves the Gophers (15-8, 5-6 Big Ten) with questions about postseason play. Any NCAA birth that the Gophers were thinking of having is dwindling away as the Gophers lost yet another home game.

“We’ve had conversations about keeping our eyes on the prize,? Gopher coach Tubby Smith said. “When you get beat like this at home, that’s the last thing … I’m sure they’ve been talking about it among themselves.? (Pioneer Press)

Illinois is having a mediocre season (11-14, 3-9 Big Ten) and will probably not make any postseason play. However, the Illini came out and gave the Gophers their worst defeat since 2006.

The Star Tribune reported that the first half was about even between the two teams. Both squads shot 57 percent from the field, but the Illini went in at half with a six-point lead.

In the second half it was all Illinois as they brought their shooting percentage almost to 59 percent for the game. On the other hand, the Gophers came out stagnant and went 8-for-39 in the second half (21 percent). Illinois started the second half on a 28-9 run that basically sealed the victory for the visitors.

“I’ve got to give Illinois a lot of credit,? said Gopher center Spencer Tollackson. “They played good defense. We just couldn’t shoot.? (Star Tribune)

Illini big men Mike Tisdale and Shaun Pruitt combined for 23 points and five blocked shots.

The Gopher’s leading scorer for the game was freshman Blake Hoffarber, who had 11 points. Hoffarber hit three three-pointers, which broke Minnesota’s record of 51 three-pointers by a freshman. In all, Hoffarber has amassed 53 of them during his freshman season.