The independent student newspaper at the University of Illinois since 1871

The Daily Illini

The independent student newspaper at the University of Illinois since 1871

The Daily Illini

The independent student newspaper at the University of Illinois since 1871

The Daily Illini

The independent student newspaper at the University of Illinois since 1871

The Daily Illini

No. 13 Illinois men’s basketball outshines Minnesota 105-97 in fiery Champaign clash

James Hoeck
Fifth year guard Terrence Shannon Jr. leaps in the air to attempt a layup against Minnesota on Wednesday. The Illini defeated the Golden Gophers by eight points at the State Farm Center.

As No. 13 Illinois men’s basketball took the floor for its penultimate home matchup of the 2023-24 regular season, the Illini downed the visiting Minnesota Golden Gophers 105-97 on Wednesday night in Champaign. The Illini are now 21-7 overall and 12-5 in the Big Ten Conference.

Head coach Brad Underwood started the game with his starting five of fifth-year guard Terrence Shannon Jr., sophomore guard Ty Rodgers, graduate student forward Marcus Domask, graduate student forward Quincy Guerrier and senior forward Coleman Hawkins.

Senior forward Coleman Hawkins takes in the victory at the end of the second half against Minnesota on Wednesday. (Jacoby Banks-Hull)

While the Golden Gophers won the tipoff, the Illini got on the board first after a triple from Hawkins, who enjoyed a red-hot start. The senior paved the way early and went on a tear, scoring Illinois’ opening eight points.

Ten minutes in saw a fiercely fought battle on the floor, with neither team able to create any significant separation on the scoreboard. The introduction of redshirt junior forward Dain Dainja at the 14:38 mark provided a strong spark, and the Illini big man wasted no time in putting up five quick points to keep Illinois slightly ahead of the visitors.

Shannon and Hawkins led the Illini offensively with efficient shooting from the floor, but the Golden Gophers were able to match each bucket and led 38-37 entering the final four minutes of the first half.

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Illinois managed to battle its way back in front to close out the period, and the State Farm Center was given a massive boost as Dainja slammed home a two-handed dunk to keep the Illini in front.

Heading into the break, Illinois found itself up by a 48-45 scoreline.

Guerrier opened the second half scoring, however 5-5 shooting from Minnesota saw the visitors go back in front. The advantage was only temporary following back-to-back triples from Shannon and Guerrier.

Both sides continued to go head-to-head on every possession, matching scoring plays to keep the game at a mere one-point difference. The competitive nature of this trend was highlighted at the 14:50 mark after Hawkins responded to an emphatic slam from the Golden Gophers with one of his own on the very next play.

The momentum began to rise in the Illini’s favor after Shannon and Domask drained their three-point makes to boost Illinois to a five-point lead.

Graduate student forward Marcus Domask slashes through the Minnesota defense during the first half on Wednesday. (Angel Saldivar)

Entering the final 10 minutes, Illinois built upon the rabid support from the Orange Krush by putting together an 8-2 scoring run. As the Illini began heating up in the scoring department, so did their hustle. Much to the State Farm Center’s delight, Illinois outworked Minnesota in getting to loose balls first as any early momentum for the visitors fizzled out.

A 10-2 run for the Illini elevated them to a double-digit lead, and the sea of orange in the building was on their feet as Illinois closed out the high-scoring contest by a 105-97 scoreline. Shannon led the team in scoring with 29 points, with Domask and Hawkins not far behind with 22 and 20 points, respectively.

Illinois (21-7 overall, 12-5 B1G) will be back on Saturday after taking a trip up north to take on Wisconsin (18-10 overall, 10-7 B1G). The showdown will tip off at noon CT in Madison, Wisconsin.



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About the Contributors
James Kim
James Kim, Sports Editor
My name is James Kim and I’m a senior studying English with a minor in business. This is my third year with The Daily Illini and it’s been an amazing ride so far. When I joined in fall 2021, I began as a staff writer for the sports section where I covered women’s tennis. In spring 2022, I became an assistant sports editor and started covering soccer and Illinois men’s basketball. From spring 2023 onwards I’ve been working as the sports editor! In addition to being an Illini and Real Madrid fanatic, I also love watching movies and TV shows. If you have any questions about writing for The DI, you can reach me at my email below. I-L-L!
James Hoeck
James Hoeck, Photo Editor
Heyo! I am James Hoeck, a third-year undergraduate student in photography with a minor in media. I have been a part of Illini Media for two years, starting back in fall 2021. I hold the position of Photo Editor here at The Daily Illini. I also work as Photo Editor for Illini Media’s Illio Yearbook. There is a good chance you will see me out and about on campus taking photos for my personal work or for The DI and/or Illio! If you want to check out more of my work, visit my socials linked below.
Angel Saldivar, Assistant Photo Editor
My name is Angel Saldivar and I'm nearing the end of my Journalism degree at the University of Illinois and currently serve as the Assistant Photo Editor at the Daily Illini. When I'm not out taking photos, I'm diving into filmmaking with my film club (shoutout Illini Film and Video) or playing the drums. Got questions or just want to connect? Don't hesitate to email me!
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