Illinois outlasts Northern Kentucky in 79-64 battle

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (AP) Malcolm Hill scored a career-high 40 points and brought in 12 rebounds to help Illinois outlast Northern Kentucky 79-64 on Sunday night.

Illinois (2-0) fought through a first half where the Illini trailed 33-31 at halftime and struggled to hold off the Norse off until the end.

The Illini shot 44 percent from the field but were 20-30 from the free-throw line.

Michael Finke added 10 points and 11 rebounds for the Illini.

Lavone Holland II led Northern Kentucky (1-1) with 13 points, which helped the Norse stay in the game until the final eight minutes.

The Norse held a 43-32 rebound advantage despite Northern Kentucky's tallest players being 6-foot-7.

Northern Kentucky was sloppy with the ball for most of the game, which resulted with 18 turnovers and 21 points off turnovers for Illinois.

BIG PICTURE

Illinois: The Illini will have a lot to work on despite the win. They will have a few games to work out the kinks before tougher opponents appear on the schedule.

Northern Kentucky: The Norse can hold their heads up despite the loss. Northern Kentucky competed well throughout the game against a Big Ten opponent.

UP NEXT

Illinois will play its third game in five nights when the Illini look to stay undefeated and host McKendree on Tuesday night.

Northern Kentucky will try to rebound after its first loss of the season on Friday when the Norse play Austin Peay in the Tarkett Sports Classic in Oxford, Ohio.

More AP college basketball: http://collegebasketball.ap.org