Abrams scores 29, Illinois beats Auburn 81-79
No. 15 Illinois 81, Auburn 79: Point guard Tracy Abrams scored a career-high 27 points and the Fighting Illini bounced back from their first loss by holding off the Tigers at the United Center in Chicago.
Illinois (13-1) forced 12 first-half turnovers and led 47-42 at the break. The Illini stretched the lead to 11 early in the second half, but Auburn cut the deficit to one on Frankie Sullivan’s 3-pointer with 4:29 left. Abrams, who also had eight rebounds, five assists and three steals, answered with two free throws and Illinois never relinquished the lead.
Auburn (5-7) dropped its second straight despite 21 points from Sullivan, who hit 5 of 12 3-pointers.
The Illini, who entered tied for the lead nationally with 9.8 3-pointers per game, shot just 4-of-14 from beyond the arc after going 8-of-32 in their previous game, an 82-73 loss to Missouri.
The Illinois enjoyed a huge advantage at the foul line, going 27-of-42 while Auburn shot 10-of-14.
GAME NOTEBOOK: Illinois won for just the second time in its last seven games at the United Center. … Auburn has lost nine straight to ranked teams. … Auburn G Chris Denson had averaged 17 points in his first four games since becoming academically eligible; he scored eight points Saturday on 2-of-8 shooting.