EVANSTON, Ill. — Northwestern (10-5) used a hard-charging second half to dispatch Illinois (4-11), 68-66, on Sunday afternoon at the new Welsh-Ryan Arena.
Redshirt junior A.J. Turner made the game-winning basket, a second-chance three-pointer with 11 seconds left. He had 12 points — including six-of-eight from the line — and finished with a plus/minus of +18.
NU spread the ball well in the match-up as five players scored in double-figures for the first time this season. Senior forward Vic Law finished with a double-double, compiling 13 points and 10 rebounds.
The Wildcats came out of the gate strong to open the contest, opening up a 20-12 lead over the Fighting Illini. Illinois, however, used a late run to take a six-point halftime lead over Northwestern.
Chicago’s Big Ten Team outscored the Fighting Illini, 43-35, in the second stanza to secure NU’s eighth home victory this season.
The Wildcats scored nearly half of their second half points from beyond the arc, shooting a blistering 58 percent (seven-of-12) from three-point range.
NU limited Illinois to zero three pointers in the game on 11 attempts, a continuation of Northwestern’s strong three-point defense this season. The ‘Cats came into the game holding their opposition to 28.9 percent shooting from beyond the arc.
That marked the first time Northwestern has limited an opponent to zero three-point field goals in the Chris Collins era. The last time it happened for NU was November 23, 2012 against TCU.
Northwestern also displayed their remarkably stingy defense; in the last 10 games, Wildcat opponents have scored under their scoring average coming into the game in regulation. Illinois came into the contest averaging 73.9 points per game.
NU will play their second-straight game at home on Wednesday against Iowa. Tip is set for 8 p.m. CT.
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