CHAMPAIGN – For a number of years, the teams have faced each other in a few intense battles on the court, but that was put aside on Monday night.

Despite the fact that Illinois wasn’t playing Michigan State on Monday evening, the Big Ten rival was on Illini fan’s minds during their game with Minnesota.


The student cheering section, The Orange Krush, sported “Spartan Strong” t-shirts during the contest at the State Farm Center as a show of support after three students at the school were killed and five injured in a mass shooting on campus on February 13.

As part of their effort, Orange Krush will take their donations to their foundation on their website and donate them to the Spartan Strong Fund, which you can learn more about here.

(AP Photo/Michael Allio)

The cheerleaders also sported the shirts during the game as part of the Krush’s effort.

(Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images)

As for the game itself, Illinois was able to get back on track and stay in a tie for fourth in the Big Ten with a 78-69 victory over Minnesota in which they were in control from the start.

Michael Mayer led the way for the Illini with 22 points with Coleman Hawkins adding 16 while R.J. Melendez had a double-double with ten points and 11 rebounds. Once again, Illinois played without leading scorer Terrence Shannon Jr., who missed his second-straight game with a concussion.

At 9-7 in the Big Ten, Illinois will now host second place Northwestern at the State Farm Center on Thursday at 8 p.m. The Wildcats come into the contest on a five-game winning streak and have already beaten the Illini this season, knocking them off 75-60 in Evanston on January 4.