Welcome to the TCR GameThread! The Fighting Illini are hosting Minnesota tonight at the State Farm Center, and Steve Bourbon (@steve_bourbon) will be covering the action for us. We'll be tweeting out links to this page as it updates so make sure to follow us on Twitter at @Champaign_Room.
In the meantime, feel free to drop down to the comments section to discuss tonight's contest with other members of the community. Eliot Sill (@EliotTweet) will have a recap up shortly after the game concludes; all postgame discussion should take place there.
FINAL: ILLINOIS 84, MINNESOTA 71
#Illini scoring...— Illini Basketball (@IlliniMBB) February 29, 2016
80-64 with 2:45 left
3:18 left: ILL 78, MINN 63
I know Minnesota has zero scholarship guards left, but it is nice for Illinois to just put a team away like they have tonight. Even in nonconference, closing out teams was a struggle.
6:28 left: ILL 70, MINN 54
Three players in double figures for Illinois, led by Kendrick with 20 points. Also Mav with 8 points and three rebounds off the bench (he continues play well!)
7:57 left: ILL 67, MINN 50
Illinois on a 35-10 run in the second half. Like, the opposite of the Indiana game in every way.
Illinois is shooting 73.3% in the second half. That helps.— Scott Richey (@srrichey) February 29, 2016
Kendrick Nunn pic.twitter.com/wZxFk2hOKQ— IllinoisLoyalty (@IllinoisLoyalty) February 29, 2016
12:19 left: ILL 52, MINN 46
Illinois on a 21-8 run this half.
15:49 left: ILL 45, MINN 45
A rare DJ Williams jumper gives the Illini their first lead of the game. The Da'Monte Williams news has Illinois really fired up in the second half.
HALFTIME: MINN 40, ILL 32
2:17 left: MINN 36, ILL 28
Just a friendly reminder that Minnesota has three of its top players suspended and only eight players are dressed. Stephon Sharp has nine points already (he had four career points entering the game).
JCL aka Illini's Only Hope pic.twitter.com/hF9W8W4lBx— IllinoisLoyalty (@IllinoisLoyalty) February 29, 2016
3:48 left: MINN 33, ILL 26
Illinois has nearly as many fouls (8) as rebounds (9). Murphy controlling this game so far for the Gophers.
4:13 left: MINN 33, ILL 26
Jordan Murphy has four dunks, 17 points and seven rebounds already.
10:07 left: MINN 19, ILL 16
That's three 3-pointers already for JCL. He's good.
11:49 left: MINN 19, ILL 13
Check this lineup for Illinois: Tate, Austin, Nunn, Williams, Finke. How on Earth is this lineup going to score?
12:17 left: MINN 19, ILL 13
Minnesota winning the points in the paint battle, 10-2.
Khalid Lewis pic.twitter.com/l8P7tZ9sZY— IllinoisLoyalty (@IllinoisLoyalty) February 29, 2016
15:10 left: MINN 13, ILL 6
This game has been about as ugly as advertised.
16:20 left: MINN 11, ILL 6
JCL HEATING UP ALERT (Two Made 3-pointers)
17:49 left: MINN 9, ILL 0
Minnesota opens with three straight 3-pointers. Ugh.
1st half -- 20:00 left
Minnesota wins the tip. Let's go.
A winnable game! I'll keep this short since this is about as irrelevant of a game as it gets for Power 5 teams, but I am really hoping the Illini can get a win tonight, if for no other reason than the seniors on this roster. Khalid Lewis and Mike Thorne may not have been with the Illini for more than a few months, but this is still their last home game as a college basketball player (Thorne is injured but still). The only other implication for this game is a fierce battle for the No. 12 spot in the Big Ten rankings. After a firm shellacking from Indiana on Thursday, the Illini better not be feeling sorry for themselves because Minnesota is only two games behind the Illini in the standings for last place in the conference (Oh whats that? Rutgers is still in the Big Ten? I thought we relegated them to the MAC already). You know what I mean. Get ready for some ugly basketball.