Scores

Final

(1) Illinois 57

(24-0, 10-0 Big Ten)

Michigan 51

(12-12, 3-7 Big Ten)

7:00 PM ET, February 8, 2005

Crisler Center, Ann Arbor, Michigan

1 2 T
#1ILL 24 3357
MICH 28 2351

Top Performers

Illinois: D. Brown 16 Pts, 2 Reb, 4 Ast, 4 Stl

Michigan: D. Harris 21 Pts, 7 Reb, 3 Ast

Brown keys second-half comeback

ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) -- Dee Brown made sure No. 1 Illinois survived a scare.

Brown turned three straight steals into baskets, including the go-ahead three-point play, and scored 16 points to keep the Illini undefeated with a 57-51 victory over Michigan on Tuesday night.

"That was the difference-maker in the game, no doubt about it," Illinois coach Bruce Weber said.

Illinois (24-0, 10-0 Big Ten) overcame a total collapse on offense -- going nearly 12 minutes without a field goal -- and an eight-point deficit early in the second half to become the nation's only undefeated team. Previously unbeaten Boston College lost 68-65 at Notre Dame just minutes before the Illini finished off the Wolverines.

"It's a good feeling, but there's a bigger target on us now," Brown said.

Dion Harris had 21 points and seven rebounds for Michigan, while Courtney Sims scored 15 points and Chris Hunter had 10. The Wolverines (12-12, 3-7) have lost seven straight, their longest losing streak since the 1999-2000 season.

Michigan coach Tommy Amaker was not satisfied with keeping it close against Illinois.

"It's still a loss," he said. "We're still disappointed. It's obvious our kids played their hearts out."

Luther Head scored 14 points for Illinois and James Augustine had 10.

Brown took over when Michigan was clinging to a 39-35 lead midway through the second half.

His three steals in just over a minute led to three baskets, including the three-point play that gave Illinois the lead for good with 7:54 left. Brown finished with four steals and four assists.

"He's electrifying," Amaker said. "He ignites their team and he does it in so many ways. He made everything happen."

Illinois, held to its lowest point total this season, proved again it can win without playing its best.

Two weeks ago, the Illini overcame an eight-point deficit in the second half to beat Wisconsin 75-65 one game after Iowa pushed them to overtime before losing 73-68.

"We've won a couple this year ugly," Brown said. "You just can't beat everyone by 20 or 15."

Early in the game, it looked like Illinois was going to win another game easily.

The Illini led by as many as 10 points and were ahead 23-15 with 8:47 left in the first half.

Then they went on a stunning drought, going almost 12 minutes without a field goal and scoring only one point. When they finally made a shot a few minutes into the second half, they trailed by just four.

"If you guard, you always have a chance," Weber said.

Brown's steals-and-layups flurry started a 14-3 run, which put the Illini ahead 49-42 with just under 4 minutes to go. Brown's two free throws, the final two points of the game, sealed the victory with 6.2 seconds left.

"I just tried to make plays," he said.

The game turned out to be much different than expected. The Illini were favored by 15 points against a reeling team that had lost its previous three games by an average of 24 points.

The Illini, who had won their previous games by an average of 18.2 points, led by 10 twice midway through the first half before their outside shots were suddenly bouncing on and off the rims and Michigan was beating them to loose balls.

The Wolverines closed the first half with a 13-1 run for a 28-24 lead. It was just the second time Illinois started the second half from behind.

"To Tommy's credit, he found a way to get his guys motivated," Weber said.

Daniel Horton, Michigan's standout point guard, missed his fifth straight game since being indefinitely suspended following a charge of domestic violence. Horton is scheduled for a pretrial hearing Wednesday morning.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

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Team Stat Comparison

 
ILL
MICH
Points 57 51
FG Made-Attempted 21-48 (.438) 19-40 (.475)
3P Made-Attempted 7-24 (.292) 6-14 (.429)
FT Made-Attempted 8-10 (.800) 7-14 (.500)
Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 17 (0/0) 11 (0/0)
Largest Lead 10 8

2004-05 Season

DATEGAMELINKS
» Feb 8, 2005 ILL 57, @MICH 51Recap