A.J. Turner made a go-ahead 3-pointer with 10 seconds to go, and Northwestern held on for a 68-66 win over visiting Illinois on Sunday afternoon for its first Big Ten win of the season.
Turner finished with 12 points for Northwestern (10-5, 1-3), while Vic Law led the Wildcats with 13 points and 10 rebounds. Ryan Taylor (12 points), Anthony Gaines (11) and Dererk Pardon (10) also scored in double digits.
Ayo Dosunmu scored 18 points on 6-for-12 shooting to lead the Fighting Illini. Adonis De La Rosa scored 12 points and Da’Monte Williams had 10 for Illinois (4-11, 0-4), which has dropped four straight for the second time this season.
Turner’s go-ahead shot followed an ugly sequence for Illinois, which committed a shot-clock violation with 34 seconds left despite coming out of a timeout. Trent Frazier missed a 3-pointer as time expired for Illinois.
Both teams traded leads during a back-and-forth final five minutes.
Northwestern led 63-60 with 3:16 left after Turner sank a pair of free throws. But Illinois quickly climbed back on top 64-63 thanks to four straight points from Frazier, who made two free throws with 3:10 to go and hit a jumper with 2:32 to play.
Law and Illinois’ Giorgi Bezhanishvili traded baskets on the following two possessions, giving the Fighting Illini a 66-65 edge with 1:31 remaining.
Illinois led 31-25 at the half.
A 13-2 run helped Northwestern grab a 20-12 lead to start the game. Pardon and Law had back-to-back dunks during the outburst, and Gaines punctuated the run with a three-point play on a layup and a free throw with 6:48 to play.
Illinois battled back late in the first half with an 11-0 run to transform a 24-16 deficit into a 27-24 advantage. De La Rosa made three baskets during the run, which helped the Fighting Illini to close the half with a six-point edge.
Northwestern shot 40.8 percent (20 of 49) from the field and 42.1 percent from 3-point range (8 of 19). Illinois shot 39.3 percent (22 of 56) overall and missed all 11 of its 3-point attempts.
Northwestern will stay home to host No. 25 Iowa on Wednesday. Illinois will welcome No. 2 Michigan on Thursday.
—Field Level Media