If the No. 8 Gophers men's basketball team was going to take the next step to the upper echelon of the Big Ten it needed to prove it could go on the road and win a big game. The team 14-1 overall and 2-0 in the conference took that challenge and passed with flying colors as they went to Illinois and crushed the Illini 84-67.
It was a statement game and Joe Coleman who scored 29 points and Austin Hollins who added 22 made sure the team left Champain with a win. After a first half that saw little flash, the Gophers took off in the second half scoring 50 points while playing spectacular defense against the No. 12 Illini.
The Gophers shot 9-of-15 from 3-point range and held Illinois to just 3-for-24 from beyond the arc. With 12:37 left in the second half, the Illini cut the Gophers lead to two, 44-42. The resilient visitors bounced right back as Hollins made back-to-back free throws and buried a three to extend the lead to nine less than a minute later.
Trevor Mbakwe scored 19 points and added 11 rebounds in the win that saw the starters score all 84 points. The Gophers stay undefeated in Big Ten play at 3-0 and will travel to Indiana Saturday morning for an 11a.m. tip against the Hoosiers.