Malcolm Hill scored 13 points as Illinois defeated American 70-55 on Saturday.
The Illini (7-1) only led by two points midway through the first half, but a 17-2 run put the Eagles (5-4) in an early deficit.
American whittled the lead to eight with 10:42 remaining in the second half. But the Illini's Jaylon Tate had a three-point play and Hill drained a 3-pointer off a steal on the next possession.
Nnanna Egwu chipped in five points and seven rebounds, while Rayvonte Rice worked his way through a shooting slump, 1-of-7 from the field, to finish with 10 points.
After consecutive poor shooting performances against Baylor and Miami, the Illinois offense was back to its usual form. The Illini shot 48.1 percent from the floor in the first half.
Pee Wee Gardner led American with 16 points.