INDIANAPOLIS (Ticker) -- James Augustine continues to shine in the postseason for top-seeded Illinois.
The MVP of the Big Ten Conference Tournament, Augustine scored a career-high 23 points to lead the Fighting Illini to a 71-59 victory over No. 9 Nevada and a spot in the Chicago Region semifinals.
"I came ready to play," Augustine said. "Coach drew up a couple of plays for me and the guys did a great job getting me the ball. ... Everything seemed to be falling my way."
Illinois will next face 12th seed Wisconsin-Milwaukee, which knocked off No. 4 Boston College, 83-75, on Saturday.
Augustine did most of his damage in the first half, going 6-of-8 from the floor and perfect on five attempts from the line for 17 points. That helped the Illini (34-1) build a 34-27 lead and overcome a slow start from their talented trio of guards.
Illinois' guard-dominated team has heard all year that its weakness is their inside game. That perception might be changing.
"Are they as good as the guards? No. But they've made huge strides," Illini coach Bruce Weber said. "They (Augustine and Jack Ingram) work hard in the weightroom and have gained some confidence shooting the ball. Their defense on Fazekas was the key tonight."
Luther Head, Dee Brown and Deron Williams combined for only seven points on 3-of-11 shooting in the opening 20 minutes, but the Wolf Pack were unable to take advantage and had no answer for Augustine down low.
Ingram helped Augustine pick up the slack for Illinois, scoring a career-high 12 points. The two big men for Illinois were a combined 15-of-18 from the floor. Augustine rounded out his career night with 10 rebounds and a team-high four steals.
Attempting to reach the regional semifinals for the second consecutive year, Nevada (25-7) could not overcome another poor performance from leading scorer Nick Fazekas.
"We really felt like this was a game we were going to win," Nevada coach Mark Fox said. "We thought we could take away the three and win the rebounding war and I'm disappointed that I couldn't do a better job tonight."
Fazekas, who was held to a season-low 10 points in Nevada's first-round victory over Texas, shot only 5-of-20 in this one and scored 11 points. Kevinn Pinkney scored 22 points for the Wolf Pack.
"It was kind of frustrating for me not to be able to knock down shots," Fazekas said. "That's part of the game I guess. Everything just kept rimming out."