When the Minnesota Golden Gophers (16-6, 4-5) opened their Big Ten schedule against the Illinois Fighting Illini (15-6, 4-4), it took two overtimes to determine a winner. Minnesota, who fought back from 12 down to force overtime, ultimately fell in the second OT by nine.
It took extra basketball again in the two teams' second match up this season, but Minnesota was able to issue payback to the Fighting Illini, 77-72, in a wild one aired on Big Ten Network Saturday night.
Minnesota trailed by four with 30 seconds remaining before Austin Hollins pulled and sinked a three with 21 seconds remaining on the clock. After a timeout, Minnesota allowed Illinois to run off nine seconds before fouling, which Illinois converted into two free throws to put them back up three.
Austin Hollins then went coast-to-coast for what should have been an easy two to put the Golden Gophers deficit at one, but Illinois' Meyers Leonard committed a foul on the play, allowing Hollins an and-one opportunity to tie the game. Hollins hit the free throw and Illinois' three-pointer at the buzzer came up a few feet short, so an extra frame of basketball was necessary once again.
In overtime, Minnesota started with an 11-3 run and held on for the win in front of their home crowd.
Austin Hollins was the leading scorer for Minnesota with 14 points. Brandon Paul scored 28 for the Fighting Illini.
Minnesota plays next at Iowa on Wednesday.
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