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Illini Snap Losing Streak Against Wisconsin 71-70

Illinois' Ayo Dosunmu slams in two of his 18 points in the Illini's 71-70 win over Wisconsin Wednesday in Madison.

Illinois' Ayo Dosunmu slams in two of his 18 points in the Illini's 71-70 win over Wisconsin Wednesday in Madison. Rob McColley/for Illinois Public Media

The Fighting Illini men's basketball team beat Wisconsin 71-70 Wednesday night in Madison.

Ayo Dosunmu scored 18 points and dished a game-high 6 assists — more than the entire Badger team combined — leading the Illini to its first win at the Kohl Center since 2010.

Dosunmu also came through in the clutch, drilling the three-pointer that gave Illinois a four-point cushion with 46 seconds remaining. He said it was redemption for a poor choice he made in December's loss to Miami in the ACC-Big Ten Challenge.

“The game against Miami, I got too deep. Similar move, hard right, I got too deep, got a charge, lost the game. I learned from it," Dosunmu said. "This game, same situation, hard right, didn’t get as deep. I trusted my instincts, pulled it back, and knocked the shot down.”

Head coach Brad Underwood credited Dosunmu's play-making ability, while also observing  — in counterpoint to last week's loss at Michigan State  — that it helps when the ball goes in the basket.

“The second half was completely different shooting. We shoot 62 percent (overall), 71 (percent) from the three (point line)," Underwood said. "The only thing we didn’t do was shoot free throws very well, but I loved our execution late, put the ball in Ayo’s hands, that’s kind of what Ayo does.”

Kofi Cockburn added 15 points and a team-high 6 rebounds for Illinois. Alan Griffin scored 12, including a pair of three-pointers that brought the Illini to a tie score in the closing minutes. A Trent Frazier three-pointer gave Illinois its first lead of the second half with just under two minutes to play. Dosunmu scored the final five points.

Illinois' Kofi Cokburn looks for an opening in the Wisconsin defense during the Illini's 71-70 win Wednesday in Madison.

Photo Credit: Rob McColley/for Illinois Public Media

That ended a 15-game winning streak for the Badgers against Illinois.

Kobe King led all scorers with 21 points for Wisconsin. Micah Potter chipped in 13 points for the Badgers, and grabbed a game-high 9 rebounds.

The Illini improved to 11-5 on the year, and 3-2 in Big Ten play. Wisconsin is now 9-6 overall 2-2 in conference. 

Illinois returns to action Saturday at home against Rutgers. It's an unusually early tip time of 11 a.m. CT.

Rob McColley covers University of Illinois sports for Illinois Public Media. Follow him @IlliniReport.