CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (WCIA) — Illinois (15-5) survived once again in a closely contested match-up, this time against the Northwestern Wildcats (6-13) 73-66.
Illinois got off to one of their better starts of the season, leading Northwestern 25-7 at one point. Sophomore Kofi Cockburn was in trouble early, but Giorgi Bezhanishvili picked up the slack in his absence with 10 first half points. Junior Ayo Dosunmu had a quiet first half falling his Big Ten career-best 31 against Nebraska. He only had three points.
The Wildcats closed the gap to 36-28 at halftime thanks to 10 Illinois turnovers. In the second half, the Wildcats battled to within one point but Illinois rode the hand of Ayo Dosunmu who hit a dagger three-pointer with less than a minute to go.
The win helps Illinois keep pace with Michigan in the race for the Big Ten title after the Wolverines won Sunday. Next the Illini travel to Minnesota for a rematch with the Golden Gophers Saturday.