Originally written on Fox Sports  |  Last updated 1/18/13
Northwestern and Illinois were both looking to bounce back from bad blowouts Thursday night, games where neither team could shoot or play defense. Only the Wildcats improved, extending No. 23 Illinois' losing streak to three games while handing the Illini a 68-54 home loss that could cost them their Top 25 ranking. After starting slow against Iowa and never catching up in the 70-50 whipping, Northwestern coach Bill Carmody was looking for a faster start. The Wildcats (11-7, 2-3 Big Ten) delivered with a barrage of 3-pointers early and 10 points in the first 10 minutes from Reggie Hearn. ''They really came out tonight and played well,'' Carmody said. ''Hearn was very good early. ... If they make shots you're a good coach.'' Illinois (14-5, 1-4) has lost five of seven after its 12-0 start and fallen near the bottom of the Big Ten. Coach John Groce, frustrated on a night that he was called for e technical foul for arguing with the officials, said his team's defense was absent ear...
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