EVANSTON, Ill. (AP) — Michael Thompson scored 22 points, hitting five 3-pointers, and Northwestern escaped with a wild 71-70 victory over Illinois on Saturday.
Coming off a one-point loss to No. 1 Ohio State a week earlier, Northwestern (14-8, 4-7 Big Ten) blew a 12-point lead in the second half and had to hang on for dear life after getting it back up to seven.
Things got particularly interesting in the final minute.
Demetri McCamey nailed a 3-pointer with 40 seconds left, pulling the Fighting Illini (15-8, 5-5) within 68-65, and the drama was just beginning.
Northwestern’s Alex Marcotullio then missed the front end of a one-and-one but took a charge as McCamey got called for an offensive foul with 20.3 seconds left.
After a timeout, Thompson turned the ball over near midcourt. McCamey then hit two free throws to make 68-67 with 10.4 seconds left.
John Shurna immediately answered with two of his own to bump Northwestern’s lead back to three. McCamey then missed the front end of a one-and-one with 7 seconds left, and the Wildcats’ Luka Mirkovic got the rebound and was fouled before making 1 of 2 to make it 71-67.
Illinois’ Brandon Paul hit a 3-pointer as time expired, and Northwestern beat Illinois for just the third time in 23 games.
Paul led Illinois with 21 points. McCamey added 14, but the Illini lost for the fifth time in seven games.
Copyright Associated Press