Indiana holds off Illinois, 80-74

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (AP) Indiana survived an early run from Illinois and battled back to beat the Illini on the road, 80-74 on Sunday.

James Blackmon Jr. and Troy Williams led the Hoosiers (14-4, 4-1 Big Ten) with 21 points each. Blackmon hit a fast-break layup with 1:07 to play to give the Hoosiers a 75-72 lead that was too much for the Illini (12-7, 2-4).

The Illini opened up an early 11-2 edge on three 3-pointers by Kendrick Nunn. He finished with a game-high 24.

But the Hoosiers charged back to lead 38-34 at the half and took the lead for good, 72-71, on Williams’ layup with 1:24 to play.

Williams led the Hoosiers with nine rebounds.

Ahmad Starks added a season-high 19 points for Illinois.

Illinois’ Nnanna Egwu fouled out with 3:42 left in what was a quiet game for the 6-11 center. He didn’t score, took just one shot and had two rebounds in 27 minutes.

The Illini played Indiana’s game early, gunning 3-pointers, and it worked. Nunn had four 3-pointers in the game’s first nine minutes and Illinois led for all of that stretch.

But Indiana weathered that hot start.

The Hoosiers went on a 14-2 run from there, taking their first lead at 17-16 with 11:31 left in the half on a 3-pointer by Nick Zeisloft.

Both teams had multiple, long runs of dominance, and it was the last one by Indiana that decided the game.

Malcolm Hill gave the Illini a 67-63 lead with 6:37 to play. With the sellout crowd roaring, the Illini had the momentum, too.

But Williams hit a short jumper with 5:22 to play, quieting the crowd and keying the decisive 17-7 Hoosier run.


Indiana: Indiana has struggled in Champaign for years. Coming into Sunday’s game, the Hoosiers had lost 11 of their last 12 and five straight at Illinois, dating back to February 2000.

Illinois: Illinois came through a brutal opening Big Ten stretch 2-4. That included four of their first five games on the road and two against Top 25 teams, a loss at Ohio State and a win at home over Maryland. No Big Ten team has opened with so many games away from home since the Buckeyes in 2009-10.


Indiana host No. 14 Maryland Thursday, the Hoosiers’ third home game in their last four contests.

Illinois hosts Purdue on Wednesday, the second of five home contests in seven games.