CHAMPAIGN, Illinois (Ticker) -- Luther Head and Deron Williams helped Illinois get one step closer to a perfect season.
Head scored 26 points and Williams added 15 as top-ranked Illinois defeated No. 21 Wisconsin, 70-59, in a Big Ten Conference battle in front of 16,865 fans - the largest crowd ever at Assembly Hall.
After Wisconsin took a 28-27 lead just 15 seconds into the second half, Head and Williams scored the next 16 points for Illinois to provide a 43-36 edge with 11 minutes left.
"We gave them (the fans) a little bit of excitement in that second half," Illinois coach Bruce Weber said. "First half, both teams were a little sloppy, I think we lost our poise at times, trying to do too much. And then (we) settled down in the second half, just played a very solid basketball game."
The Illini (25-0, 11-0 Big Ten), who shot 58 percent (11-of-19) after the break, led the rest of the way and pushed the margin to 62-51 with two minutes to play on Dee Brown's second 3-pointer in 90 seconds.
"The three guards, they carried us today," Weber said. "Luther in the first half made some big shots, Dee in the second half made some big shots down the stretch and Deron was there pretty much consistently the whole game."
The win was the 25th straight for the Fighting Illini, who are two wins away from matching the 1960-61 Ohio State Buckeyes for the third best start in conference history.
"We talked about it (undefeated run) at halftime, don't waste opportunities," Weber said. "Enjoy being a part of this, this is a fantastic year and the fans have been great."
Illinois overcame foul problems to forward Roger Powell, who played just 18 minutes and scored just two points, and Brown, who was on the floor for just 26 minutes before fouling out late in the game.
"Roger got two fouls in two minutes, so yes, we played (Jack Ingram) a lot, tried to rotate Nick (Smith) in there, tried not to get one player too tired," Weber said. "I think James (Augustine) was exhausted, he usually doesn't get that tired but he had to play so many minutes because our foul trouble and also the matchups."
Head, who scored 18 points in Illinois' 75-65 win over Wisconsin on January 25, shot 7-of-14 from the floor and made all but one of his 11 free throws. He added eight rebounds and four assists.
Brown finished with 16 points, going 4-of-6 from the arc, for Illinois, which won its school-record 21st straight league contest.
"When we needed key buckets down the stretch, Dee stepped it up," Weber said.
The Badgers were successful at controlling the tempo in the first half. They held the Illini to 39 percent (11-of-28) shooting and overcame a four-minute stretch without a point late in the opening 20 minutes to trail just 27-26 at the break.
"They play a very disciplined system," Weber said. "Bo does a great job, they are very intelligent, they spread you, they put you on defense, they make you accountable and you have to fight on every possession.
"I think our guys did a good job of hanging in there, hanging in there and then in the second half we had the discipline to overtake them and win the game."
Alando Tucker led Wisconsin (16-6, 7-4) with 24 points and eight rebounds, but he was the lone Badgers player in double figures.