EVANSTON, Ill. (AP) He was part of a storied rivalry as a player and assistant, and coach Chris Collins would love to see Northwestern develop one with Illinois.
The Wildcats and Fighting Illini have a long way to go to reach that Duke-North Carolina level.
Tre Demps and Scottie Lindsey each scored 18 points and hit four 3-pointers, and Northwestern beat Illinois 58-56 in a matchup between struggling teams on Saturday night.
''I want them to be real good and I want us to be real good,'' said Collins, who played and coached at Duke before taking the Northwestern job. ''I was fortunate to be a part of probably the most special rivalry in all of college basketball for 20 years. The reason why rivalries can become special is when both are very good.''
Neither team played a particularly great game. But after committing 10 turnovers in the first half, Northwestern had just two the rest of the way. And Demps came up huge down the stretch.
He scored all but one of his points in the second half, nailing 3s on four straight possessions to turn a four-point deficit into a five-point lead. And Northwestern (17-9, 5-8 Big Ten) hung on to win for just the second time in eight games.
''You just try to stay engaged, stick to the game plan and make plays defensively (when you're not scoring),'' Demps said. ''You know the scouting report, follow the scouting report and try not to worry about it. That's what we did tonight.''
The Wildcats were leading by two when the Fighting Illini's Malcolm Hill got tripped up as time expired after catching an inbounds pass. That gave Illinois (11-14, 3-9) its ninth loss in 12 games.
Alex Olah had 10 points and seven rebounds, and the Wildcats came away with the win despite hitting 9 of 26 3-pointers.
Kendrick Nunn led Illinois with 13 points, while Jalen Coleman-Lands and Maverick Morgan added 12 apiece. Hill - the Big Ten's second-leading scorer - finished with seven points and five turnovers to go with 13 rebounds and eight assists. And he got called out by coach John Groce for the final play.
''He's got to stay on his feet,'' Groce said. ''I'm not picking on him. I love him. I've got to work with him a little bit more. I'll take responsibility. It's my responsibility and his responsibility to make sure we get one up on the rim. It might not go in. They don't all go in. but we've got to get one up on the rim. That's the bottom line.''
Demps' 3-point binge in the second half turned a 46-42 deficit into a 54-49 advantage for Northwestern with 5:35 remaining.
He also had the purple-clad fans roaring when he broke for a layup to make it 58-53 with a minute left after Lindsey blocked Morgan down low.
Nunn immediately answered with a 3 for Illinois to make it a two-point game, and the Illini had a chance to tie or take the lead after Demps missed from long range with 12 seconds remaining.
Hill hit a pull-up jumper, but the basket was waved off due to a foul by Northwestern's McIntosh with 2.7 seconds left.
Nunn then inbounded the ball along the baseline to Hill, who got tripped up as time expired after he caught the pass.
''Plan was to attack right, attack to the basket, get a good shot up,'' Hill said. ''I tripped over his foot and fell. It (stinks) because we didn't really get a shot up. I feel bad for that, but things happen.''
Illinois: The Illini outrebounded Northwestern 40-31 after getting beat on the boards in 10 of their first 11 conference games.
Northwestern: Northwestern had hit at least 11 3-pointers the previous three games.
Illinois hosts Rutgers on Tuesday.
Northwestern visits Purdue on Tuesday.