AJ Turner hit a 3-pointer with 10.1 seconds left to give Northwestern a 68-66 victory over rival Illinois on Sunday, the Wildcats’ first Big Ten win of the season.
The junior forward missed a wild 3-point attempt with just under 20 seconds left, but Dererk Pardon grabbed the rebound and threw it back out to Turner for the game-winning basket.
Vic Law had 13 points and 10 rebounds, Turner and Ryan Taylor had 12 points apiece and Anthony Gaines added 11 for Northwestern (10-5, 1-3).
Ayo Dosunmu had 18 points and Adonis De La Rosa added 12 for Illinois (4-11, 0-4), which has lost four straight.
Giorgi Bezhanishvili gave Illinois a 66-65 lead on a follow basket with 1:31 to play. After each team had a scoreless possession, Northwestern got the ball back with 34.5 seconds to go to set up the game winner.
Trent Frazier missed a 3-point attempt at the buzzer for the Illini.
Following a slow start offensively, Northwestern received a lift when freshman Ryan Greer entered the game at point guard seven minutes into the game. The Wildcats rallied for a 24-16 lead with five minutes left before halftime and seemingly had taken control.
But Illinois, after going scoreless for more than four minutes, closed the first half with a 15-1 run to take a 31-25 lead at the intermission.
Law had just two points on 1-for-6 shooting in the first half. He finished 4 for 12 from the field with six turnovers.
Illinois stretched its lead to eight points early in the second half before Northwestern rallied to tie the score at 42 on a 3-point play by Gaines with 13 minutes to go.
The game stayed tight the rest of the way.
Illinois will host No. 2 Michigan on Thursday night.