Illinois routs Northwestern 62-41
Illinois 62, Northwestern 41: D.J. Richardson scored 18 points and grabbed a game-high eight rebounds as the visiting Illini cruised past the Wildcats for their fourth straight Big Ten win.
Tracy Abrams finished with 13 points and Brandon Paul added eight points, six rebounds and five assists for Illinois (19-8, 6-7 Big Ten), which went on a 26-0 run midway through the game. The Illini held the Wildcats scoreless for more than nine minutes during that stretch.
Reggie Hearn had 11 points for Northwestern (13-13, 4-9), which shot 25 percent while losing its third straight game. The Wildcats produced their season low in scoring.
Illinois held Northwestern to a pair of field goals in the first ten minutes, using two 7-0 runs to build a 16-5 lead, before the Wildcats held the Illini to an Abrams 3-pointer over the next 8:25 and pull within 19-15. Illinois closed the half with a 10-0 run fueled by 3-pointers by Abrams and Richardson to push its lead to 29-15.
Illinois, with Richardson's seven points leading the way, opened the second half with a 16-0 run to blow the game open. The Wildcats, who trailed by as many as 30 points, never got closer than 21 points the rest of the way.
GAME NOTEBOOK: Northwestern 7-0 C Alex Olah, who missed the Wildcats' game at Ohio State on Valentines Day with an upper body injury suffered in a Feb. 9 loss at Iowa, played and finished with five points and three rebounds. ... Illinois, which had three 3-pointers in a 68-58 loss to the Wildcats on Jan. 17, had four treys in the first half alone Sunday and six for the game. ... Northwestern's 15 first half points were not a season low. The Wildcats had 14 in the first half of a 69-51 loss at Minnesota on Jan. 6.
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