CHAMPAIGN—Malcolm Hill scored 18 points to lead Illinois to a 66-50 win over Northwestern on Tuesday night.The two teams played a tight contest where the deficit didn’t grow larger than four points for much of the game. But Northwestern suffered an eight-minute scoring drought in the last 10 minutes and Illinois build its lead to double digits for the first time.Illinois (16-12, 6-9 Big Ten) controlled the pace for much of the game, including offensively where the Illini shot 40 percent from the field and 6 of 18 from 3-point range.Leron Black had a strong presence, scoring seven of the Illini’s first eight points. He finished with 11 points and eight rebounds.Bryant McIntosh led the way for Northwestern (20-8, 9-6) with 16 points.The Wildcats shot well from the field, 32 percent, but failed to take advantage of the numerous open 3-point opportunities, shooting 4-18.
NOTES—The Wildcats have now lost twice to a bad Illini team. Northwestern has three more games before the Big Ten Tournament and what will likely be the program’s first NCAA Tournament berth….The Illini got another win against their rival, one that will help their NIT Tournament chances. With three games left in the season before the Big Ten Tournament, wins against Northwestern are the bright spot for a season that doesn’t look good for John Groce’s team or his future…..Northwestern travels to Bloomington for a Saturday night matchup against Indiana…..Illinois heads back to the road for a Sunday evening game at Nebraska.