By TERRY TOWERY
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (AP) – Kipper Nichols scored 18 points and Ayo Dosunmu added 13 as Illinois handed Nebraska its fifth straight defeat 71-64 on Saturday.
Trent Frazier scored 11 points for Illinois (7-15, 3-8 Big Ten).
James Palmer Jr. scored a game-high 22 points for Nebraska (13-9, 3-8), while Thomas Allen added 11.
The Huskers were cold from the field all afternoon, hitting 25 of 70 for 36 percent, compared to Illinois’ 27 of 56 shooting for 48 percent.
Illinois lead by as many as 15 points late in the game, but Nebraska pulled within nine points before Illinois held on the for the win.
The Illini kept pace with the Huskers the first half, after jumping out to a 7-0 lead. The final five minutes of the half saw Frazier and Nichols take over for the Illinois offense. Frazier hit two 3-pointers and Nichols one to give Illinois a 38-29 lead at the half.
The Huskers seemed out of sync from the opening tip and shot only 32 percent from the field the first half, compared to 47 percent for Illinois.
Illinois made 9-of-23 free throws (39 percent), its worst free-throw percentage since a 2012 win over Georgia Tech.
Nebraska shot 11-of-21 from the line (52 percent).
THE BIG PICTURE
Nebraska came into Saturday’s game on a four-game losing streak following a 62-51 loss to Wisconsin on Tuesday. The Huskers are without second-leading scorer Isaac Copeland, who averaged 14 points per game, due a torn ACL. Copeland is expected to miss the remainder of the season.
Nebraska beat the Illini 75-60 in Lincoln in December, although the Illini are 10-2 all-time against Nebraska at home. The Illini beat the Huskers 72-66 at the State Farm Center last season.
Illinois has been inconsistent all season, and the previous two games were good examples. The Illini shocked then-No. 13 Maryland 78-67 on Jan. 26 at Madison Square Garden, recording its highest-ranked win in four seasons. The Illini then lost to Minnesota 86-75 just four days later.
Nebraska: Hosts Maryland on Wednesday.
Illinois: Plays No. 6 Michigan State at home Tuesday.