Illini Hill: “It feels great.”

Sports

EVANSTON — The road has been a lonely place for Illinois basketball the last few years.  The Illini picked up their first true road win in more than a year Tuesday night, beating Northwestern 68-61.

“It feels great,” Illinois senior Malcolm Hill said.  “To get this win on the road especially it shows a testament to how together we were.  To start the last three minutes we were down and there were times that we could have wilted or got nervous under pressure but we did a great job of maintaining ourselves.”

The win also snapped a three-game losing streak for the Illini, who remain in 13th place in the Big Ten standings with a 4-8 record.

“We’ve been in a little slump obviously and we wanted to get out here and steal a win from them and it’s huge,” Illinois sophomore Michael Finke said.  “Home, away, it doesn’t matter we just wanted to get a win and it feels good.”
 
Illinois’ defense was stout for the third straight game, holding Northwestern to just 34 percent shooting from the field.  In the last three games, the Illini have held opponents to 40 percent or less.
 
“That gives you a chance,” Illinois head coach John Groce said.  “What we were missing last week was some shot making and you know fortunately today we were able to get that from a lot of different guys.  When the ball goes in it always makes you look a little bit better and my hats off to the older guys who have done a great job of leading over the last day or two but this is just one step for us.”
 
Illinois returns home Saturday afternoon hosting Penn State at 1 p.m.  The Nittany Lions won the last meeting 71-67 on Jan. 28. in State College, Pa.

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