Matthew Mayer scored 18 of a career-high 26 points in the second half, and Illinois beat Wisconsin 61-51 on Saturday.
Mayer set a career-high five 3-pointers and shot 9-of-19 overall. Jaden Epps added his 13 points to his fighting Illini (15-6, 6-4 Big Ten).
Chucky Hepburn scored 15 and Max Kressmit returned from two games out of injury to score 12 for the Badgers (12-8, 4-6).
Mayer scored 10 points on a 22-4 run midway through the second half to cut Wisconsin’s only lead in half and put the Illini up 17 with four minutes remaining.
After the teams combined for the lowest-scoring first half in the conference this season, Illinois got off to a quick start in the second half, with Mayer scoring eight of the Illini’s first 12 points to take a 12-point lead. . But Wisconsin responded with his 15-for-2 run, with Hepburn hitting two of his 3-pointers and a drive to put the Badgers up his one.
After the first half, Illinois led 20-16. Illini started shooting 1-of-7 and Wisconsin scored 1-of-10 as the team had just 5 points total by the first media timeout. Illinois did a dismal 33% for him and 18% for Wisconsin. With the team combined, he went 15-of-60 overall, and from his three-point range he went 5-of-24.
The teams rebounded to 54% in the second half, both 13 of 24 from the floor. However, Illinois was 11th of her 18 and Wisconsin was 4th of her 7.
After defeating Wisconsin 79-69 at home on January 7, Illinois has won six straight in the series and three in Madison.
Illinois will play Nebraska on Tuesday. Wisconsin will be in Ohio on Thursday.