EVANSTON, Ill. (AP) — Genesis Bryant hit a clutch 3-pointer with 18.8 seconds left and scored 18 points, Kendall Bostic had a double-double, and No. 21 Illinois held off Northwestern 67-64 in a wild finish on Sunday.
Makira Cook added 14 points, including two free throws with two seconds, left as the Illini (16-4, 6-3 Big Ten Conference) handed the Wildcats (6-13, 0-9) their eighth-straight loss.
Illinois was up 62-54 when Bostic made a layup with 1:35 to play. Northwestern hurried downcourt and turned an offensive rebound into a Caileigh Webb 3-pointer. A blocked shot led to a Jillian Brown 3-pointer to cut the deficit to 62-60 with 47.5 seconds to go.
That’s when Bryant hit a stepback 3 just before the shotclock expired. But Bostic fouled Brown, who made the first free throw at 10.8 seconds and missed the second, which the Wildcats rebounded. Courtney Shaw then had a putback and was fouled, converting the three-point play for a 65-64 score with 4.2 to go.
Cook’s free throws gave the Illini a 67-64 lead and they proved decisive as Caroline Lau was fouled, forcing a miss-rebound-3-point shot scenario that didn’t work.
Bostic had 16 points and 13 rebounds for Illinois, which averages 80.2 points a game and struggled until scoring 20 in the fourth quarter, though the Illini went 4 of 7 from the line in the last period.
Northwestern, which has now nine games to ranked teams this season, made its three 3-point attempts and was 8 of 12 in the fourth quarter but had five turnovers.
Illinois, which swept the season series but was unranked in its 85-79 win on Jan. 5, finished at 49% but was 4 of 14 behind the arc and 7 of 13 at the line.
Paige Mott led Northwestern with 13 points, Sydney Wood had 12 and Brown and Mercy Ademusayo 10 each. The Wildcats had 18 turnovers that the Illini turned into 21 points.
Illinois is home against Purdue on Thursday. The Wildcats are home on Wednesday for a nonconference game against Chicago State.