BY KENT WOLGAMOTT
LINCOLN, Neb. — Terran Petteway scored 18 points and Nebraska built an 11-point lead midway through the second half and held off Illinois 53-43 on Sunday night.
Nebraska (10-6, 2-2 Big Ten) made four of four free throws in the final two minutes to seal the win. The Huskers shot and made just one free throw in the first 38 minutes of the game.
Illinois (11-6, 1-3) cut the Nebraska lead to six late in the game but struggled to hit shots. The Fightin’ Illini made just 15 of 55 and didn’t have a basket after the 3:14 mark until Aaron Cosby’s short jumper with :14 left.
Nebraska took the first double-digit lead of the game on Petteway’s 3-pointer with 16:48 left that put the Huskers up 34-24 with 16:48 remaining. But Illinois’ Kendrick Nunn countered with a 3 on the next possession.
But the Illini fell behind 40-29 on Petteway’s layup with 11:06 left. Nebraska then went cold, hitting just one basket over a five-minute span. Leron Black’s dunk with 8:09 left capped a 6-2 Illinois spurt, cutting the lead to 42-36.
Nebraska again pulled away, outscoring Illinois 7-2 in the next five minutes and taking a 49-38 lead on Petteway’s 3-pointer with 3:25 left. Illinois got no closer than eight the rest of the game.
Illinois put up 17 3-point shots in the first half and made just three, but Nebraska couldn’t take advantage of the poor shooting and led by just six at the half.
Shavon Shields had 11 points for Nebraska. Nunn and Malcolm Hill each had 10 for Illinois.
Illinois: The Illini played its second game without leading scorer and rebounder Rayvonte Rice. The senior guard, who was averaging 17 points and 7 rebounds a game, fractured a bone in his left hand Monday and underwent surgery Wednesday. He will be out for several weeks.
Nebraska: The Huskers held Illinois to 27.3 percent shooting Sunday. Illinois made just 6 of 29 three-pointers for the game. Nebraska have held their previous seven opponents to a combined 36 percent from the field.
Illinois visits Northwestern Wednesday.
Nebraska visits Wisconsin Thursday.