Illinois Trounces Short-Handed Gophers in First Round of Big Ten Tournament


INDIANAPOLIS-- Minnesota came in with a depleted roster and Illinois pounced, crushing the Golden Gophers 85-52 in the opening round of the Big Ten Tournament Wednesday.

"I thought our ball movement was tremendous," Illinois head coach John Groce said. "Defensively we wanted to play ridiculously hard. I thought we really did that. So really that gave us the chance to move our name to the next line of the bracket."

Illinois made a Big Ten Tournament record 14 three pointers in the game. Michael Finke (5-7 3-Pt FG) led all scorers with 17 points.

"I think it's more mental and everything," Finke said. "My mechanics weren't changing. My shot wasn't changing. I think it was just all mental with it honestly...people would tell me to shoot. Everyone had confidence in me and I just had to have confidence in myself."

The Illini are now 6-0 versus Minnesota in the Big Ten Tournament. The win sets up a rematch with Iowa in the next round Thursday at 1:30.

"Every day and every game is different," Groce said. "So we will have our hands full tomorrow. We have great respect for Iowa."

Iowa won the only meeting this year between the two teams 77-65.

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