The Illini jumped out to the early 35-19 run, thanks in large part to the play of their big men. Warren Carter and Shaun Pruitt were able to get the ball down low and either got the easy bucket or passed out for an open three.
Arizona cut into the lead by scoring 17 of the last 23 points of the first half and trailed just 41-36 after the first 20:00.
Illinois scored the first six points of the second half, but after that the Wildcats went on a 12-0 run to take their first lead since early in the game.
During the run both Carter and Pruitt picked up their fourth foul, severely hampering the Illini's ability to run their offense.
Carter finished 24 points, 10 rebounds and four assists. Pruitt had 11 points.
The final nail in the coffin came late in the game on a strange call. With 1:16 to play and the Cats leading 74-70, Mustafa Shakur grabbed a defensvie rebound and quickly looked up-court for a streaking Budinger. The freshman was grabbed from behind by Rich McBride but made the basket. McBride was called for an intentional foul, giving Arizona two shots and the ball. Budinger made both free throws and Ivan Radenovic converted on a pair ouf foul shots and when the dust settled the Wildcats had a six-point play and a ten point lead.