LIVE BLOG: FINAL - Illinois 74, Northwestern 66

Illinois (18-9, 10-6 in Big Ten Conference) travels to suburban Chicago to face a Northwestern (6-20, 1-15) team on a 11-game losing streak.

EVANSTON, Ill. -- Welcome to the Welsh-Ryan Arena where Illinois (18-9, 10-6 in Big Ten Conference) will try to end a two-year losing streak at Northwestern (6-20, 1-15).

I'm LOOKING the newly renovated Northwestern home arena for the first time, as we're about two hours from the opening tip.

NOTE: Please join us as we live-blog and discuss the Illini exhibition game here in our weekly Illini Gameday Open Thread. Dive into the conversation — it's easy — by simply going to the top right of the redesigned site and click the follow button.

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Game 28: Illinois at Northwestern

Date/Time/Place: Thursday, Feb. 27, 2020: 7 p.m. CST, Welsh-Ryan Arena, Evanston, Ill.

Capacity: 7,039

Records: Illinois 18-9, 10-6 in Big Ten; 12-21, 7-13 in Big Ten Conference in 2018-19. Northwestern 6-20, 1-15 in Big Ten; 13-19, 4-16 in Big Ten Conference in 2018-19.

Line: Illinois by 6

Series Notes: Illinois leads the all-time series, 137-42. Northwestern has won two straight home games over the Illini, including a 72-68 overtime win at Allstate Arena (12/1/17) and a 68-66 victory at Welsh-Ryan Arena last season (1/6/19). The Wildcats are looking for their first three-game home winning streak against Illinois since 1966-68. The previous five matchups between the two schools have been decided by an average of four points. 

TV: BTN - Dave Revsine (PBP), Andy Katz (Analyst)

Radio (Illinois): Brian Barnhart (PBP), Deon Thomas (analyst) - The broadcast can be heard live on TuneIn online radio, Sirius/XM 383 and at


While we wait for pre-game updates, here's a look at the three keys and Matthew Stevens' prediction for tonight's game.


Two Key Numbers For Tonight's Game:

5 - Six of Northwestern's Big Ten games this season have been decided by five points or fewer. 

12.2 - Illinois ranks sixth nationally in offensive rebound rate (36.3%) and is averaging 12.2 second-chance points per game.  


Other Big Ten Conference game on tap tonight: 

6 p.m. - Wisconsin (17-10, 10-6) at No. 19 Michigan (18-9, 9-7) - ESPN2

6 p.m. - Indiana (18-8, 8-8) at Purdue (14-14, 7-10) - FS1

8 p.m. - No. 23 Ohio State (18-9, 8-8) at Nebraska (7-20, 2-14) - ESPN2


NOTE: Uniform Update: It appears Illinois is going with the orange throwback uniforms tonight. The Illini are 3-2 in that combination this season. 


NOTE: The Illini VIPs are out tonight at Welsh-Ryan Arena. Josh Whitman, Lovie Smith, Mike Small, Deon Thomas etc. 


NOTE: Illinois going with the four-guard starting lineup: Frazier, Dosunmu, Williams, Feliz and Cockburn. 

Screen Shot 2020-02-27 at 7.00.29 PM


Loud ovation for Illinois sophomore Ayo Dosunmu during #Illini starting lineup announcement at Welsh-Ryan Arena. 


MEDIA TIMEOUT - 15:24 left in 1st - Northwestern 7, Illinois 6 - Cockburn with two dunks already but Kopp has knocked down two contested shots to give the Wildcats an early lead. Frazier has missed two open looks already. 


MEDIA TIMEOUT - 11:57 left in 1st - Illinois 12, Northwestern 11 - Northwestern has gone to a zone defense and Illinois is still getting the ball inside. Illini are 6 of 9 on two-point field goals. Wildcats is 2 of 4 on layups as Cockburn having a defensive presence as well. 


MEDIA TIMEOUT - 7:06 left in 1st - Illinois 22, Northwestern 14 - Kofi Cockburn is 5 of 5 tonight with three dunks and has affected Northwestern's layup attempts on the other end. Ayo putting on a show in front of Chicagoland fans with 10 points. 


MEDIA TIMEOUT - 3:42 left in 1st - Illinois 29, Northwestern 21 - Alan Griffin is having a major impact on this game. The sophomore wing already has seven points, six rebounds and two assists in 10 minutes (plus-8). 


ILLINI TIMEOUT - 58.2 left in 1st - Illinois 32, Northwestern 24 - Underwood trying to stop a scoring drought of over two minutes with this timeout. However, Illini holding Northwestern to one contested shot per trip. 


HALFTIME - Illinois 34, Northwestern 26 - Illinois dominant outside-inside pair of Ayo Dosunmu and Kofi Cockburn combine for 23 points and 11 of 15 from the field. Northwestern is shooting just 32 percent from the field and 3 of 11 from three-point range. Illinois already with seven offensive rebounds against a bigger Wildcats lineup. 


NORTHWESTERN TIMEOUT - 16:21 left - Illinois 43, Northwestern 32 - Trent Frazier has found his offensive game. The junior guard already has five points in the first four minutes of this half after being held to 1 of 5 in first 20 minutes. 


MEDIA TIMEOUT - 15:28 left - Illinois 43, Northwestern 37 - Wildcats aren't going anywhere tonight. Northwestern is 5 of 8 in this half and got a huge and-one from Pat Spencer. Illini backup bigs (Bezhanishvili and Nichols) have zero points and five fouls in a combined nine minutes. 


MEDIA TIMEOUT - 11:37 left - Illinois 51, Northwestern 44 - Griffin providing 13 points and seven rebounds in 14 minutes off the bench tonight. Northwestern staying alive by shooting 64 percent from the field in the second half. 


ILLINI TIMEOUT - 10:06 left - Illinois 55, Northwestern 44 - Illinois with 10 offensive rebounds tonight and only three have come from Cockburn. 


MEDIA TIMEOUT - 7:12 left - Illinois 61, Northwestern 48 - Alan Griffin with a career-high 21 points on 8 of 9 shooting and Northwestern isn't simply forgetting to guard him. Illini ball movement and offensive execution has been darn good tonight.