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Updated: Wednesday, February 23, 2005 11:09 PM EST
NCAA BASKETBALL RECAP
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(1) Illinois 84, Northwestern 48

CHAMPAIGN, Illinois (Ticker) -- Illinois put on another clinic to continue its historical season.

Dee Brown made a season-high six 3-pointers and scored 20 points and Roger Powell added 18 and 10 rebounds as Illinois extended the nation's longest winning streak to 28 games in a resounding 84-48 Big Ten Conference victory against Northwestern.

The victory gave the Illini a share of the conference championship for the fourth time in five years and extended their league winning streak to 24 games.

"Winning Big Ten championships is our focus," Brown said. "We know we're a good team, but on any given night in college basketball you can lose. We come out and prepare every night and play hard."

Illinois shot 59 percent (32-of-54), was 14-of-23 from the arc and outrebounded Northwestern, 36-21. The Wildcats shot 40 percent (22-of-55), including 1-of-17 on 3-pointers.

"We came out and played (tonight)," Illinois coach Bruce Weber said. "We had a terrible practice yesterday. I told the guys you only have two more games at home - take pride in them.

"They surprised me tonight. They came with great energy and Dee got going. I thought we got inside touches and ran, especially midway through the first half."

The Illini (28-0, 14-0 Big Ten) took a 7-0 lead on its first three possessions and never looked back. Brown made 5-of-6 3-pointers for 17 points as the Fighting Illini shot 60 percent in the first half, including 8-of-12 from the arc, and raced to a 45-22 lead at the break.

"The first play of the game, we played decent defense for about 30 seconds, then we had a turnover and they made a three," Northwestern coach Bill Carmody said. "Then another turnover by us and they hit another three. From there, it just got worse. It was already 7-0 before we got a shot."

"Dee played great," Weber said. "He just kept hitting threes, so all I could do was sit down and clap."

Powell scored six points and Luther Head hit a shot from the arc as Illinois opened the second half with nine straight points to push the margin to 54-22 with 18 minutes left.

Head scored 14 points and Deron Williams added 13 and six assists for Illinois, which finishes its conference slate against Purdue and at Ohio State.

Mohamed Hachad scored 15 points and Vedran Vukusic added 14 for the Wildcats, who had won four of their last five games.


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