The Northwestern Wildcats lead 36-31 at halftime over the Illinois Fighting Illini in a competitive game between the state's two Big Ten basketball teams. Northwestern had extended its lead to 10 points with less than two minutes to go in the game, but Illinois came back to finish the half with five unanswered points to keep the game close going into halftime.
John Shurna has been impressive in front of the home crowd in Evanston, Ill., scoring 17 points on 7-for-10 shooting in the first half. Drew Crawford has been limited to just two points in the game, but the Wildcats are shooting 47 percent from the field so far and have been able to survive without big numbers from their No. 2 scorer.
The Fighting Illini didn't have a great first half, but Nnanna Egwu gave them a nice boost off the bench with 9 points while going a perfect 3-for-3 from the field and 3-for-3 from the free throw line. Brandon Paul scored 7 points, but center Meyers Leonard was held to just two points, and those were scored on a dunk in the half's final minute. Illinois starters are just 6-for-18 from the field combined, so that team is going to need more from its key players.
For more coverage of the Illini, be sure to explore Hail to the Orange, and for more on the Wildcats, check out Sippin' On Purple. Stay tuned to SB Nation Chicago for live, in-game scores and updates. For more on Tuesday's match-up, check out this preview.