MINNEAPOLIS – Saturday afternoon was another chapter in an impressive story of a potential National Player of the Years. That’s a trend that Illinois fans were happy to see take place.
But there was something that didn’t continue over the past week which the Illini and their rooters were pleased to see: Little drama in the final minutes of the game.
Unlike their games against Nebraska and Northwestern, this game was finished long before the clock ran out.
Ayo Dosunmu got his second triple-double in four games – 19 points, ten points, ten rebounds – but he got plenty of help from those around him on Saturday against Minnesota.
Three other starters got into the double-digits in scoring while six others on the bench registered points in a 94-63 blowout of the Gophers at Williams Arena. The win is the seventh-straight for Illinois, who are playing their best basketball as the Big Ten season approaches the final weeks.
Kofi Cockburn led the Illini with 22 points with Trent Frazier getting 15 and Jacob Grandison 12, yet it was Dosunmu that kept the mix going. He helped the Illini to a 15-point halftime lead and then it grew after halftime, aiding a 13-2 run to start the second half.
Illinois would boost the lead to 36 at one point in the closing minutes, which was a welcome change after two close games against struggling Big Ten teams over the previous eight days. Nebraska forced overtime on February 12th before Dosunmu saved the day in Lincoln, then the guard hit two late threes to finally get ride of pesky Northwestern last Tuesday in Champaign.
While the stats remained strong for Dosunmu, he along with the rest of the team and fans could breathe a little easier after this Illini victory.