NCAA Game Summary - Minnesota vs. Illinois
(Thursday, March 14th)
Final Score: Illinois 51, Minnesota 49
Chicago, IL (Sports Network) - Illinois continued its Big Ten Tournament success in the Windy City.
Brandon Paul's jumper at the buzzer lifted the Illini to a 51-49 win over Minnesota in the first round of a battle between sub .500 teams in the Big Ten with NCAA Tournament aspirations.
On the possession prior to the Paul jumper, Illinois (22-11) collected four offensive rebounds before D.J. Richardson knocked down a right wing 3-pointer to tie the game at 49-49 with 48 seconds remaining.
Austin Hollins stepped out of bounds on the Gophers' ensuing touch and Paul let the clock run down before pulling up for the game-winning left elbow jumper for his 25th point.
No other Illinois player finished in double figures.
The Illini have advanced to at least the semifinals of the seven previous Big Ten Tournaments held in Chicago and will have an opportunity to make it eight if they can knock off top-seeded Indiana Friday in the quarterfinals. They improved to 16-5 in conference tourney games at the United Center.
Austin Hollins netted 16 points, while Andre Hollins finished with 13 points for the Gophers (20-12), who have dropped three in a row and seven of their last 10 contests.
A 19-2 first-half run propelled the Illini to a 25-16 lead at the break, but Andre Hollins hit a pair of triples and scored eight points, while Austin Hollins tallied the final six during an 18-2 Gophers surge to give them a 40-34 edge with 8:35 to play.
Paul's three-point play and trey sandwiched around a Rodney Williams layup pulled the Illini within 45-44 with 6:39 left and it remained a one-posession contest the rest of the way.
Both teams went 8-10 in Big Ten play during the regular season.
03/14 15:21:58 ET