WASHINGTON (Ticker) -- Despite struggling in the early going, No. 1 Illinois continues to roll over opponents in its quest to retain the top spot in the polls for the first time in school history.
Roger Powell Jr. scored 19 points and Luther Head added 13 as the top-ranked Illini posted a 74-59 victory over Georgetown.
Illinois earned the top spot in the polls for just the third time in school history on Monday but never has maintained that ranking for more than one week. The Illini likely will need a victory over Oregon on Saturday to retain the No. 1 position.
Head does not see this history as a factor in how Illinois plays.
"We just look at it as playing game by game," Head said. "We are not even thinking about the No. 1 ranking. We want to work hard each day and go out every game and try to leave each place with a win."
The Illini missed nine of their first 13 shots and Brandon Bowman's 3-pointer gave the Hoyas a 22-17 lead with just over six minutes remaining in the first half.
"We took some questionable shots in the beginning that we haven't taken, but that is part of being on the road, I think, part of the defense they played," Illinois coach Bruce Webber said. "Yet at the same time, we adjusted as the game went on."
But Illinois responded by increasing its defensive pressure and going on a 24-3 run over the next nine minutes to take over the game.
"The last five minutes of the first half and the first five minutes of the second half were definitely the breaking points in the game," Webber said. "We talk about that. We really picked up our defense and contested shots."
After Dee Brown's layup started the run with 5:09 left, Powell converted a three-point play 36 seconds later to tie the score, 22-22. Head followed with the first of his three 3-pointers to give the Illini the lead for good.
Powell made the final two baskets of the half, including a two-handed dunk with seven seconds remaining, as Illinois took a 31-24 lead at the break.
"It was our pressure," Head said. "We came out kind of slow, but when we put on our pressure, it shook them up. They were not able to respond on offense the way we are used to."
Head added a pair of 3-pointers as the Illini extended the lead to 41-25 just 2:48 into the second half.
James Augustine chipped in 15 points for Illinois, which shot 65 percent (15-of-23) in the second half and has not won by fewer than 12 points this season.
The Illini scored 19 points off 14 turnovers by Georgetown (3-2).
Freshman Jeff Green scored a career-high 20 points for the Hoyas, who were outscored in the paint, 42-24.
Jonathan Wallace added 10 points, including a pair of 3-pointers, as Georgetown had its three-game winning streak snapped.