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Michael Thompson hits big 3s to help NU edge Illinois

EVANSTON, Ill. -- Michael Thompson scored 22 points, hitting five 3-pointers, and Northwestern escaped with a wild 71-70 victory over Illinois (No. 24 ESPN/USA Today) on Saturday.

Northwestern (14-8, 4-7 Big Ten) blew a 12-point lead in the second half and had to hang on after getting it back up to seven.

Demetri McCamey nailed a 3-pointer with 40 seconds left, pulling the Fighting Illini (15-8, 5-5) within 68-65. The drama was just beginning.

Thompson turned the ball over near midcourt. McCamey then hit two free throws to make it 68-67 with 10.4 seconds left.

John Shurna immediately answered with two of his own to bump Northwestern's lead back to three. McCamey then missed a free throw with 7 seconds left, and the Wildcats' Luka Mirkovic got the rebound and was fouled before making 1 of 2 to make it 71-67.

Illinois' Brandon Paul hit a 3 as time expired.