CHICAGO -- Illinois, winning the battle inside, pulled away from Arkansas midway through the first half to dominate the young Razorbacks in their first true road game.
Arkansas was within 13-9 on a Billy Pharis three-point shot with 12 minutes left in the first half, but the Fighting Illini responded with a 10-0 run that turned into a 23-7 spurt for a 36-16 advantage with five minutes left in the first half.
The Hogs still trailed by 20 with three minutes left in the half when they had their only real run of the game to cut it to 38-25 with eight unanswered points. Deron Williams countered with a driving layuyp at the buzzer for Illinois to set the intermission score at 40-25.
Williams controlled the tempo to start the second half as Illinois went on a 19-6 run over the first seven minutes. Illinois' biggest lead was 78-50 with 3:15 to play.
Jonathon Modica led Arkansas with 20 points. Olu Famutimi added 11 points and 8 rebounds.
The Hogs lost Vincent Hunter, freshman forward, early in the second half when he dislocated his right shoulder when he ran into an Illini screen. After the game coach Stan Heath indicated that Hunter could be lost "for some time." Doctors will examine his shoulder when the team returns to Fayetteville.
Arkansas shot just 33 percent for the game despite earning 21 offensive rebounds. They were unable to convert many of those offensive boards into points because of the intimidating presence of the much larger Illinois front line.
"We got banged around a lot inside," Heath said. "Our guys thought they might have been getting fouled, but you have to be able to withstand that when you play a team like Illinois. We will face that some in the SEC.
"We had 21 turnovers and seven were from Ronnie Brewer and five from Olu Famutimi. They were out of their comfort element today. That's going to happen with a young team. We have to get on the road and see some of this and we will get better as we go.
"I thought one of the positives was the way Olu attacked the basket. He made some mistakes and I let him play through some of that. You could see his explosiveness. He didn't finish always, but he was getting to the rim and that was good to see his aggressive play start to return.
"Eric Ferguson sprained his thumb in practice Friday and he reinjured it in the game today. He did a nice job staying in front of Dee Brown, but he wasn't able to help us much on offense."
Heath was not pleased with the loss, but said it was something that will help the Hogs down the line.
"It was good to get out on the road and get tested," he said. "We knew that Illinois is very good. The positive is that we were 1-4 at this point last year and we are 4-1 now. We got beat pretty good, but it just counts one."
The Hogs return to Bud Walton Arena on Tuesday where they will play host to Southeast Missouri in their final game before finals.
Illinois 84, Arkansas 61(Final)
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