Andres Feliz came off the bench to score a career-high 26 points Sunday as host Illinois stretched Northwestern’s losing streak to 10 games with an 81-76 Big 10 Conference win in Champaign, Ill.
In upping their record to 11-18 overall and 7-11 in the conference, the Fighting Illini also got 12 points each from Ayo Dosunmu and Giorgi Bezhanishvili, plus 11 points from Trent Frazier.
With Feliz drilling 16 of 17 at the foul line, Illinois finished 33 of 38, far above its norm of 69.1 percent.
Dererk Pardon scored 16 points to pace the Wildcats (12-17, 3-15), while Ryan Taylor and Miller Kopp added 13 apiece. A.J. Turner hit for 12 points.
Northwestern remains winless since a Jan. 22 home victory over Indiana.
Kopp made three foul shots with 28.1 seconds left to pull the Wildcats within 77-74, but Feliz answered with two free throws with 27.3 seconds remaining for a five-point margin.
Pardon canned a pair at the line with 12.5 seconds left to make it 79-76, but Feliz again countered with two foul shots with 11.6 seconds left to ice the game.
The Fighting Illini snapped a three-game losing streak and gained a split of their season series with their in-state rivals.
After Northwestern scored the first bucket 44 seconds into the game on a Pardon layup, Illinois embarked on a 16-2 run over a 4:27 span that was capped when Feliz converted a 3-point play and a transition layup 24 seconds apart.
The margin stayed in double figures for most of the half. The Illini pushed the lead to 33-18 when Feliz canned two foul shots with 4:22 left in the half.
Northwestern was able to gain a bit of traction at the half’s end, pulling within 39-27 thanks to a Pardon free throw in the final minute. But the Wildcats were fortunate to be that close after making only 29.4 percent from the field and 1 of 12 from 3-point range.
Northwestern shot 40.0 percent from the floor for the game.
—Field Level Media