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.
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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 LIVE...at 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.

You can log in with Facebook or Google and either way, it's free. That's right...IT'S FREE. From there, sound off in the comment section and share your reactions and observations with our staff and fellow members of the Illini Now/Sports Illustrated community as we keep you up to date of the game in real-time.
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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 FightingIllini.com.

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

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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.  

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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

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

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

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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

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

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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. 

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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. 

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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. 

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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). 

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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. 

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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. 

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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. 

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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. 

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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. 

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

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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. 

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