Ayo Dosunmu, the Fighting Illini’s leading scorer who missed the previous game with a knee injury, scored 24 points, and Illinois snapped a four-game losing streak with a 62-56 victory over Penn State on Tuesday night.
Kofi Cockburn added 14 points for the Fighting Illini (17-9, 9-6 Big Ten), who led most of the way and ended Penn State’s eight-game winning streak.
The win also snapped Illinois’ six-game losing streak against Penn State.
Lamar Stevens scored 13 points for the Nittany Lions (20-6, 10-5), who entered with their highest ranking in the AP Top 25 since they were No. 9 at the same point of the 1996 season.
Izaiah Brockington added 10 points for the Nittany Lions, who trailed 30-26 at halftime and by as many as nine points with 5:35 to play.
Penn State got a pair of free throws from Seth Lundy that cut its deficit to 58-56 with a minute left, but Dosunmu iced it with a layup 30 seconds later.
The Nittany Lions made just 21 of 58 shots, well below their 45% average. Penn State shooters made just 4 of 19 3-pointers.
It was back-and-forth early as teams swapped the lead five times in the first. The Illini controlled play for 9:06 and Griffin gave them their biggest lead of the half when he hit a 3-pointer, drew a foul and hit the ensuing free throw to put the Illini up 21-16 with 8:54 before halftime.
Penn State used an 8-1 run, capped by a steal and dunk by Lundy, to retake the lead 4:22 later.
But Illinois got eight straight points from Dosunmu before a put-back by Giorgi Bezhanishvili to go up 30-26 at the break.
Illinois hosts Nebraska on Monday.