CHICAGO (Ticker) -- Illinois basketball is synonymous with its three star guards. But the Fighting Illini showed they also could play some pretty good defense.
Roger Powell had 15 points and a career-high 12 rebounds and James Augustine had 12 and nine as top-ranked Illinois avenged a loss in last year's tournament final to Wisconsin by knocking off the No. 22 Badgers, 54-43, in the Big Ten championship game.
"Roger was huge today, getting rebounds and putbacks," Illinois coach Bruce Weber said. "He got us going early. James played very well throughout the whole tournament. Their job on (Mike) Wilkinson and (Alando) Tucker - we really eliminated their easy looks and their touches. ... We played great defense throughout the tournament, our shots just didn't go down."
Illinois (32-1) won this one despite Dee Brown, Deron Williams and Luther Head shooting just 8-of-30 from the floor, including an 0-for-8 performance from Brown, who has shot 7-of-35 from the floor in his last four games.
"I do not think he's had a big slump like this in a long time," Weber said. "Maybe if he gets back to the gym a little bit, it may cure a lot and give him some confidence."
However, the Fighting Illini's defense held the Badgers to a season-low 26 percent (14-of-54) shooting and held stars Wilkinson and Tucker to a combined 5-of-21 and 17 points.
"Roger Powell did a great job of being the primary defender on Mike Wilkinson," Augustine said. "I think our whole team played great defense throughout the entire tournament, even today."
"Inside, we had a chance to finish on some shots and we didn't," Wisconsin coach Bo Ryan said. "We didn't see anything different in terms of how they played and what they were doing. I really liked some of the shots that we had, and, when you play from behind, it gets a little bit tougher."
In the first two games of the tournament, Illinois held Minnesota and Northwestern to a combined 36 percent shooting, forced 18 turnovers in each game and outrebounded the two schools by a combined 25. For the season, the Illini are second in the conference in opponents field goal percentage (42.0) and first in turnover margin.
The win capped an emotional weekend for Illinois coach Bruce Weber, who coached the last two days after his mother died on Friday night.
Wisconsin (22-8) got the slowdown pace it wanted in the first half, but was held to just 24 percent (6-of-24) shooting and trailed 26-18 at the break.
The Illini stretched the lead to 43-27 on Head's dunk with just under nine minutes left before the Badgers went on a 16-5 run to pull within 48-43 with four minutes to play on Wilkinson's only field goal of the game. It also was the Badgers' last bucket.
"They did a good job of making us work down there. Every time we caught it, we were away from the block," Wilkinson said. "Once you caught it, they did a good job of running another big at you and making you kick it out."
Powell hit four free throws and Augustine knocked down two to close out the third straight 11-point win against Wisconsin this season and wrap up a certain No. 1 seed in the upcoming NCAA Tournament.
Head finished with 12 points for Illinois, which shot 36 percent (19-of-53). Williams finished with eight points on 3-of-10 shooting and Brown, the Big Ten Player of the Year, was scoreless and missed all five of his 3-point attempts.
A win over Fairleigh Dickinson next Thursday in the NCAA Tournament would give Illinois 33 wins, matching the 1998-99 Michigan State Spartans for the most wins in one season in Big Ten history.