The Huskers (11-8, 3-3 Big Ten) put four players in double figures, led by Andrew White III’s 21 points and 13 rebounds, as the Nebraska picked up its first win in Champaign since 1921.
White scored 15 of his 21 points in the second half, as the Huskers withstood a flurry of 3-pointers by Illinois (9-9, 1-4 Big Ten). Freshman Glynn Watson matched his career high with 17 points, while Tai Webster and Shavon Shields added 16 and 14 points, respectively as the Huskers won its third straight game and picked up consecutive road wins in conference for the second time in the Big Ten era.
Nebraska took control of the game with a 17-4 spurt behind the play of Webster, who scored all nine of his first-half points in the surge. Ed Morrow Jr., who finished with six points and six boards, got the Huskers’ run going with a putback slam before a pair of Webster baskets and a Michael Jacobson tip-in made it a five-point game. After a Kendrick Nunn basket, Webster and Andrew White III led NU on decisive 9-0 run as Nebraska built a 35-23 lead after a Webster basket with 3:33 left in the half.
The Huskers, who shot over 50 percent in both halves for the third straight game, shot 55.2 percent from the field in the half and 53.6 percent for the afternoon.
Illinois opened the second half with a 9-4 run to pull within 43-39 after straight points from Michael Finke, but Nebraska responded with a 10-0 spurt to extend the lead back to 14. Andrew White III started the run with a 3-point play with 15:49 left as White scored six points in the run that was capped by a Shields floater with 13:29 left.
Illinois came right back, as Maverick Morgan keyed a 6-0 spurt to make it 53-45 and force a Husker timeout with 12:02 left, but the Huskers would regroup. Nebraska went on a 12-3 run, including 3-pointers from White and Webster and pushed the lead to 14 after a White drive with 7:44 left.
Illinois continued to stay in range, pulling to within six points on two occasions, the last at 72-66 after Jaylen Tate’s basket with 1:02 left, but could get no closer as the Huskers went 6-of-6 from the line in the final minute to complete the victory.
Malcolm Hill led Illinois with 17 points while Nunn added 15, as the Illini shot 39 percent on the day, including 11-of-37 from 3-point range.
The Huskers return to action Wednesday night, as Nebraska faces No. 4 Michigan State. Tipoff is set for 5:30 p.m.