Created: 02/19/2014 10:40 PM KSTP.com By: Cassie Hart
Illinois guard Kendrick Nunn, right, drives against Minnesota guard Malik Smith, left, during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in Minneapolis, Wednesday, Feb. 19, 2014. Nunn had 19 points as Illinois defeated Minnesota 62-49.
Photo: Photo: AP/Ann Heisenfelt
Freshman guard Kendrick Nunn hit five 3-pointers and led Illinois with 19 points as the last-place Illini beat Minnesota 62-49 on Wednesday night, putting a damper on the Gophers' hopes for an at-large NCAA Tournament bid.
The Illini won for only the second time in their last 12 games thanks to some uncharacteristically good 3-point shooting and solid defense that helped them overcome a poor start. Nunn went 5-for-7 from 3-point range, and the Illini hit eight shots from behind the arc - their most so far in conference play.
Nnanna Egwu had 14 points and Tracy Abrams added 13 for Illinois (14-12, 3-10 Big Ten), which entered the game ranking next-to-last in the Big Ten in 3-point field goal percentage (.308).
Andre Hollins led Minnesota (17-9, 6-7) with 15 points, and Austin Hollins and Mo Walker each added 10. The Gophers have lost six of their last nine games.
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