Andres Feliz scored 17 points while Ayo Dosunmu and Kofi Cockburn added 13 each as Illinois overcame poor shooting to beat Minnesota 59-51.
Both teams shot poorly. The Illini shot 33% and the Golden Gophers made 32% of their attempts from the field.
The Fighting Illini (16-5, 8-2 Big Ten) is tied with No. 14 Michigan State atop the Big Ten standings at the midway mark of the conference’s regular season.
Daniel Oturu led the Golden Gophers (11-10, 5-6) with a game-high 20 points and Alihan Demir added eight points.
Minnesota rallied from a seven-point deficit with three minutes to play to pull within one point with 1:43 left on Orturu’s layup. Giorgi Bezhanishvili was fouled with 1:30 left and made both free throws. Feliz later made two free throws to help seal the win.
Illinois went on a 6-0 run midway through the first half on Trent Frazier’s two 3-pointers to take a 17-11 game. The Illini would not trail again.
The Gophers used a 7-0 run in the second half to pull within four points before Illinois sealed the victory.
Illinois was 14 of 16 from the foul line and Minnesota was 10 of 12.
Illinois play at No. 18 Iowa on Sunday.