Williams' Career High Leads Illinois Over Badgers

On Wednesday night in Champaign, the Illini were looking to avenge a previous loss to Wisconsin and create a three-way tie atop the Big Ten in the loss column. Lead by Deron Williams' career-high 31 points, and Luther Head's defense on Wisconsin's Devin Harris, Illinois defeated Wisconsin 65-57.

Deron Williams told his teammates after losing to Wisconsin in Madison that he was "sick and tired" of losing basketball games. Wednesday night in Champaign, he used a career-high 31 points to further prove to his teammates that he meant business in Illinois' 65-57 victory.

The win moved Illinois, Wisconsin, and Michigan State into a tie in the loss column atop the Big Ten standings. Michigan State holds a one-half game lead over both Illinois and Wisconsin since they have won one more game than either team. The stretch run for the Big Ten Championship will also include one more game between the contenders as Wisconsin will have to travel to East Lansing and face Michigan State before the season ends.

Luther Head hit a three-point shot to start the scoring for Illinois in the first half. Unfortunately for the Illini, that was the only made basket the Illini would have for just under seven minutes until Roger Powell's three-pointer pulled Illinois to within 10-8 with 12:48 left on the clock. The Illini would continue to struggle as the first half wore on, that was until Deron Williams started to take control of the game.

Deron Williams would score twelve points as the first half wore down, and Illinois would chip into a Badger lead until they finally overtook the lead 30-28 on a Luther Head lay up with 0:46 left in the first half. The Illini only trailed 31-30 in the second half, and withstood numerous Badger runs to grind out the game.

Wisconsin's two leading scorers Devin Harris and Mike Wilkinson only contributed 23 combined points, 31 less than the 54 they combined in Madison against Illinois. Luther Head drew the defensive assignment on Harris, and held Harris in check for most of the game. Mike Wilkinson only took four shots, making three of them, a far cry from his previous experience this season against the Illini.

The only other player for Illinois to score in double figures was Luther Head, who scored 10. Dee Brown led Illinois with 6 rebounds, 6 assists, and 4 steals. Deron Williams also had four steals on the ball game.

L. Head 37 3-8 3-4 1 1 1 2 10
R. Powell 34 1-2 4-6 1 3 0 3 7
J. Augustine 34 2-5 5-6 4 5 0 2 9
D. Brown 39 1-4 1-3 0 6 6 0 4
D. Williams 37 9-18 8-8 1 4 1 4 31
R. McBride 3 0-1 0-0 1 1 0 0 0
B. Randle 4 1-1 0-0 0 1 0 0 2
N. Smith 10 1-3 0-0 0 1 0 1 2
J. Ingram 2 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0

Team Rebounds: 3
Turnovers: 12 (D. Williams 5, D. Brown 4, L. Head 3)
Blocked Shots: 3 (N. SMith, R. Powell, L. Head)
Steals: 10 (D. Brown 4, D. Williams 4, J. Augustine 2)
3-Point Field Goals: 8-19 (D. Williams 5-9, L. Head 1-4, R. Powell 1-2, D. Brown 1-3, N. Smith 0-1)
Technical Fouls: None

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