Underwood on close wins over Nebraska, Northwestern: “This grind, this is chiseling us”

Your Illini Nation

CHAMPAIGN (WCIA) — A win is a win but when you’re the fifth-ranked team in the country, more is often expected. That’s the case for Illini fans, after beating the two bottom feeder teams in the Big Ten in back-to-back games. It took overtime for No. 5 Illinois to take down Nebraska, who had lost 25 straight conference games going in. On Tuesday night, another late heroic performance from Ayo Dosunmu led the Illini (15-5, 11-3) to a 73-66 victory over the Wildcats, who dropped their 12th straight game.

“You have to find ways to win and again this grind, this is chiseling us, this is making us a team to find out different ways,” Illinois head coach Brad Underwood said. “We didn’t shoot the ball well, we missed free throws, we had a tough go of it at stretches and you’ve got to find a way to win.”

The Illini committed 15 turnovers, shot 50 percent from the line and only had a plus-two rebounding advantage on the boards against the Cats. Despite the struggles, Illinois is now tied with No. 4 Ohio State for the league’s longest winning streak at six. The longest consecutive streak for Underwood at Illinois is seven, that happened last season.

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