CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (WAND) -- Twice during Sunday night's second half it looked like Northwestern might claim the lead and end its grueling nine-game losing streak.
Illinois' Andres Feliz had other plans.
The junior college transfer finished with a career-high 26 points and slammed the door on both Northwestern comeback attempts with a scalding 16-of-17 performance from the free throw line. The Wildcats didn't make it easy -- Miller Kopp hit a 3-pointer to cut the deficit to five with 28 seconds left to play, and then later sank three of three free throws to cut it to three.
With the 81-76 win, Illinois (11-18, 7-11) ended its own losing streak of three games. Northwestern's (12-17, 3-15) losing streak, meanwhile, has now reached 10 games -- all the way back to January 22's home win against mercurial Indiana.
Ayo Dosunmu and Giorgi Bezhanishvili each added 12 points for Illinois.
Up next for Illinois is a Thursday night game against Indiana in the home finale, followed by a Sunday road trip to Penn State to cap off the regular season.