CHAMPAIGN, Illinois (Ticker) -- Deron Williams dominated the second half to help Illinois avenge its most recent defeat and force a second-place tie in the Big Ten Conference.
Williams scored a career-high 31 points to power Illinois to its sixth straight win, a 65-57 victory over 10th-ranked Wisconsin.
Williams scored 19 points in the second half to help the Fighting Illini win their sixth straight home game against the Badgers. First-place Michigan State is 9-3 in the league and Illinois and Wisconsin both sport 8-3 Big Ten marks.
Wisconsin (17-5, 8-3 Big Ten) cruised to a 76-56 rout of Illinois in Madison on January 24 as Devin Harris scored 30 points. Since then, the Fighting Illini (17-5, 8-3 Big Ten) have improved their defense, holding four of their last five opponents under 38 percent shooting.
Although the Badgers shot 50 percent (24-of-48) on Wednesday, the Illini did a better job defending Harris and limited him to only 16 points and six turnovers.
Wisconsin used a 7-0 run to cut the deficit to 50-49 with 5:32 remaining. But Illinois responded with a 8-0 spurt over the next two minutes to build a 58-49 cushion.
Williams made 9-of-18 shots and drilled five 3-pointers in the best game of his career. He had a jumper and two free throws in the final run that opened up a nine-point lead.
Illinois point guard Dee Brown had a solid floor game with six assists, six rebounds and four steals. Williams added four steals.
The Illini enjoyed a huge advantage at the foul line, making 21-of-27 attempts in comparison to the Badgers' 5-of-8 showing.
The home team has won the past 10 games in the series.