MINNEAPOLIS (WCIA) — Matthew Mayer scored a game high 19 points and grabbed 10 rebounds for his first double-double this season, leading Illinois to a 78-60 blowout win over Minnesota Monday night at Williams Arena. It’s the fourth-straight victory for the Illini (13-5, 4-3 B1G), who are now above .500 in Big Ten play for the first time this season.

“There was a defensive rebound that I normally would’ve just let Coleman (Hawkins) get and I went and snatched it from him,” Mayer said about trying to get his double-double. “And then when I got 9, I went and told everyone ‘I got nine, so be nice to me.'”

“I always knew Matt had game, he’s actually one of my favorite players,” Dain Dainja said. “He actually told me during the game that he was one rebound away from a double-double. I’m just very excited for him.”

In his return to his home state, Dainja scored 11 points. The Illini forward had about 20 family and friends in attendance to watch the Brooklyn Park native play in Minnesota for the first time since high school. Terrence Shannon Jr. put up 11 points, with freshman Jayden Epps adding 10 as well.

Dawson Garcia led the Gophers (7-9, 1-5 B1G) with 17 points, with Ta’lon Cooper also in double figures with 16.

Illinois dominated the glass with a 50-29 advantage in rebounding and a 54-28 edge in points in the paint. After a close game at half where the Illini only led by three, 35-32, Illinois ran away with the game in the second outscoring Minnesota 43-28, shooting 56 percent from the field in the final 20 minutes.

In his best game as an Illini, freshman Ty Rodgers scored eight points and grabbed eight rebounds. In his first time playing extended minutes this season, Brandon Lieb scored four points, grabbed two rebounds and got a block in 12 minutes off the bench, after multiple frontcourt players were in foul trouble in the first half.

“It’s always just stay ready, you never know,” Lieb said about his opportunity. “Coaches always remind me of that. Frazier is on me like, ‘Stay ready.’ It’s games like this where you never know what’s going to happen. You can’t go to the game expecting not to play or to play. It’s just see what happens.”

“Brandon stepped in and did a great job, got a couple easy baskets, and was impactful on the defensive side,” Illinois head coach Brad Underwood said. “A great team win.”

Illinois returns to action Thursday night hosting Indiana at 7:30 p.m. at State Farm Center.