Illinois players react as they watch their teammates play against Northwestern during the second half of an NCAA college men's basketball game in Evanston, Ill., Saturday, Jan. 23, 2010. Northwestern won 73-68.(AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh) By Nam Y. Huh
Illinois head coach Bruce Weber reacts as he watches his team play against Northwestern during the second half of an NCAA college men's basketball game in Evanston, Ill., Saturday, Jan. 23, 2010. Northwestern won 73-68.(AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh) By Nam Y. Huh
EVANSTON, Ill. (AP) -- Jeremy Nash scored 22 points, John Shurna added 19 and Northwestern went on a run late in the second half to beat Illinois 73-68 Saturday night after dropping 11 straight to the Illini.
Drew Crawford scored 15, and the Wildcats (14-5, 3-4 Big Ten) got a measure of revenge for an overtime loss last month that spoiled their first AP poll appearance in nearly 41 years. They went on a 16-2 run that turned a seven-point deficit into a 61-54 lead and hung on from there, sending Illinois to its third straight loss.
Guard D.J. Richardson led the Illini (12-8, 4-3) with 17 points, but the big men were quiet after dominating the Wildcats last month.
Center Mike Tisdale finished with 14 points and six rebounds after lighting up Northwestern for 31 points and 11 boards. Mike Davis, meanwhile, was scoreless after going for 20 and 17 last time.
Even so, the Illini were leading 52-46 with 7:02 left. Then Northwestern made its run.
The Wildcats scored 10 straight, with 3-pointers by Nash and Michael Thompson giving them a 56-52 lead with 4:34 left, and they continued to pour it on after the Illini's Dominique Keller scored. Nash hit a layup after a timeout, and Shurna hit that 3-pointer with 2:20 left.
Illinois got within three on a 3-pointer by Tisdale with five seconds left, but Nash hit two free throws for the final score.
Northwestern jumped to an early 13-2 lead only to see Illinois respond with a 20-2 run that Richardson capped with two 3-pointers. A 45.1 percent shooter from beyond the arc, he buried a 3-pointer and then converted a four-point play after being fouled by Shurna to make it 22-15 midway through the half, drawing a loud roar from a large orange-clad contingent.
Nash gave Northwestern fans something to cheer in the closing minute when he buried a 3-pointer to make it a one-point game, pumping his fist as the ball fell through the net. But Demetri McCamey hit two free throws with four seconds left as Illinois took a 39-36 lead.
Leading 49-41 with 14:16 to go after a neat reverse layup by Richardson, the Illini looked like they might pull away. Instead, they wasted some chances, a steal by Jeff Jordan leading to a turnover and an offensive foul against Brandon Paul wiping out a layup.
(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)