CHAMPAIGN, ILLINOIS -- Malcolm Hill finished with 22 points as Illinois pulled away in the second half to defeat NC State 88-74 in the 2016 ACC/Big Ten Challenge at State Farm Center.
The Wolfpack drops to 5-2 overall and will return to action Saturday against Boston University in PNC Arena.
Torin Dorn Jr. paced NC State with 17 points. Abdul-Malik Abu finished with 16 and Ted Kapita came off the bench to score 13. Freshman Dennis Smith, who entered the contest with four straight games of 20 points or more, scored 12.
NC State trailed for most of the first half before rallying late to take a 33-32 advantage at intermission despite commuting 13 turnovers. The Wolfpack led 42-41 with 17 minutes remaining but Illinois went on a 11-3 run over a three-minute span to take lead it would not relinquish. The Illini opened the second half by hitting 12 of its first 16 shots from the floor and shot 67.9 percent (19-of-28) after halftime.
The Illini, who entered with a three-game losing streak, scored 56 points in the second half. It was the third time in seven games this season NC State has allowed over 50 points in a half. Through seven games, the Wolfpack's opposition is averaging 77.4 points per game.
The Pack shot 53 percent from the floor for the game. Illinois first led by double-digits with 8:36 remaining but NC State trailed by only seven with 4:30 remaining.
Illinois held the Wolfpack without a field goal for almost three minutes down the stretch and was not seriously threatened the rest of the way.
With the loss, NC State drops to 0-4 all-time versus Illinois and has not won a road game in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge since outlasting Purdue in 1999.