Evanston, IL (SportsNetwork.com) - Drew Crawford had 13 points and eight rebounds to lead Northwestern to a 49-43 win over 23rd-ranked Illinois at Welsh-Ryan Arena.
JerShon Cobb and Tre Demps both scored 11 for the Wildcats (8-9, 1-3 Big Ten), who snapped a four-game losing streak.
"The main thing was that my teammates believed in me," Demps said of finding his rhythm as the game went on.
Tracy Abrams was the lone Illinois player to reach double figures in points, finishing with 13 on 6-of-15 shooting.
The Fighting Illini (13-4, 2-2), coming off Wednesday's 25-point loss to Wisconsin, couldn't get anything going offensively against their in-state foes and shot a dreadful 28.1 percent from the field.
"Shots didn't fall that guys normally make," Abrams said of his team's shooting struggles.
But despite their poor shooting numbers, they were still in the game. Rayvonte Rice hit a 3-pointer to trim the deficit to 45-43 with 16 seconds left. Crawford was then fouled and sank two free throws before Abrams missed an off- balance shot on the next Illinois position.
Two more Crawford free throws sealed the outcome.
The Fighting Illini shot 19.4 percent in the first half and were 0-for-8 from 3-point range. Fortunately for them the deficit was only 22-15 because Northwestern made only 33.3 percent of its shots.
The Wildcats led by as many as 10 early in the second half.
Demps added eight boards and five assists, while Alex Olah had nine points and seven rebounds for Northwestern ... Illinois outrebounded the Wildcats 40-36.