Ayo Dosunmu produced 23 points and Giorgi Bezhanishvili added 20 points as Illinois used one of its best first halves this season to defeat the Golden Gophers 95-68 and end a five-game skid.
The Illini (5-12, 1-5 Big Ten) piled up 51 points in the opening 20 minutes — their second-best output thus far — on the back of hot shooting and a strong glass presence.
The Golden Gophers (13-4, 3-3) hadn’t permitted more than 44 points in a first period when they arrived at State Farm Center. They led for just 28 seconds versus Illinois.
Backing the college newcomers were Trent Frazier with 15 points and Andres Feliz with 10 points as Illinois shot 56.1 percent from the field.
Minnesota, which lost for the second time in its last three bouts, received 17 points from Daniel Oturu and 11 points from Jordan Murphy.
Under second-year coach Brad Underwood, Illinois earned its first conference victory since Feb. 25, 2018, and won for the first time since Dec. 15 versus East Tennessee State.
Illinois faces No. 23 Iowa on Sunday.