>>Illinois Drops Nebraska
Illinois handed Nebraska its fifth straight defeat 71-64 Saturday afternoon from the State Farm Center.
Kipper Nichols scored 18 points and Ayo Dosunmu 13 for Illinois (7-15, 3-8 Big Ten). Trent Frazier added 11 points for Illinois.
James Palmer Jr. scored a game-high 22 points for Nebraska (13-9, 3-8), while Tanner Borchardt added 12 points and a game-high 18 rebounds. Thomas Allen scored 11.
The Huskers were cold from the field all afternoon, hitting 25 of 70 for 36 percent, compared to Illinois’ 27 of 56 shooting for 48 percent.
Illinois led by as many as 15 points late in the game, but Nebraska pulled within nine before Illinois held on for the win.
The Illini kept pace with the Huskers the first half, after jumping out to a 7-0 lead. The final five minutes of the half saw Frazier and Nichols take over for the Illinois offense. Frazier hit two 3-pointers and Nichols one to give Illinois a 38-29 lead at the half.
The Huskers seemed out of sync from the opening tip and shot only 32 percent from the field the first half, compared to 47 percent for Illinois.
Illinois made 9 of 23 free throws (39 percent), its worst free-throw percentage since a 2012 win over Georgia Tech.
Nebraska shot 11 of 21 from the line (52 percent).
Illinois plays No. 6 Michigan State at home Tuesday.
>>Illinois Topples Loyola-Chicago Saturday Night
Milik Yarbrough scored 21 points and Keyshawn Evans added 14, including four 3-pointers, to help Illinois State beat Loyola-Chicago 65-57 on Saturday night and move into a tie with the Ramblers atop the conference standings.
Zach Copeland had 11 points for Illinois State (14-9, 7-3 Missouri Valley Conference). The Redbirds have won three in a row and five of their last six.
Illinois State hit five 3-pointers, including three by Yarbrough, while outscoring the Ramblers (14-9, 7-3) 23-10 over the final 8 ½ minutes of the first half to take a 35-25 lead into the break. Marques Townes hit a jumper to trim the deficit to six about three minutes into the second half, but Matt Chastain and Copeland made back-to-back 3s to make it 43-31 and Loyola trailed by at least eight points the rest of the way.
Townes finished with 19 points and five assists, while Cameron Krutwig had 15 points and 11 rebounds, for Loyola.