The Northwestern University Wildcats defeated state rival University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Fighting Illini Jan. 17 with a score of 68-54.
Following a tough 70–50 loss at home against the University of Iowa Hawkeyes on Jan.13, Wildcats Head Coach Bill Carmody called on his veteran players to perform better. Seniors Reggie Hearn and Alex Marcotullio and sophomore Dave Sobolewski did just that against their state rival, the Fighting Illini. Each of the three scored more than 10 points, Hearn achieving a team high of 20.
The Wildcats shot the ball well against the Fighting Illini, and because U of I struggled from the field, Northwestern built a 15-point lead heading into the second half—and they never looked back. The Fighting Illini ended the game shooting 40 percent, while the Wildcats shot 50 percent from the field.
Heading into the game, the Wildcats were the third best team in the Big Ten from beyond the arc. Northwestern made 8 of 16 three-point attempts. The win improves the Wildcats to 5-1 away from Welsh Ryan Arena this season.
The Fighting Illini lost for only the second time this year at home.
Northwestern will aim to defeat back-to-back Top 25 opponents when the No. 2-ranked Indiana University Hoosiers visit Evanston on Jan. 23.