Illinois holds on for 64-59 win over Penn StateIllinois' Brandon Paul (3) scrambles for the ball and passes back to D.J. Richardson (1) during the first half against Penn State in an NCAA college basketball game Thursday, Feb. 21, 2013, in Champaign, Ill. (AP Photo/Robert K. O'Daniell)
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (AP) -- D.J. Richardson started slow Thursday but finished with 18 points and hit a pair of key free throws late in Illinois' ugly 64-59 win over Penn State.
The win was the fifth straight for Illinois (20-8, 7-7 Big Ten). But facing a team that hadn't won since late December, it didn't come easy.
Jermaine Marshall's 3-pointer brought Penn State within 62-59 with 5 seconds left. Richardson then sank a pair of free throws that sealed the win.
Illinois led 29-20 at the end of a brutal first half.
The Illini's Brandon Paul entered the game a point shy of 1,500 in his career. It took him almost 17 minutes to get it. He finished with 16.
Penn State (8-18, 0-14) has lost 14 straight. The Nittany Lions committed 31 fouls and sent the Illini to the line 36 times. They made 23.
Jermaine Marshall led Penn State with 20 points.