Illinois got out to a quick start, giving the ball inside to Sam McLaurin and establishing the post presence. That helped set up the outside shots for the guards, as Richardson, Brandon Paul and Tracy Abrams found their shooting strokes.
Both teams struggled from the field in the first half. Illinois shot 36 percent from the field in the first period, but the Illini held Northwestern to 21 percent shooting in the same half. The Wildcats looked lost on offense, as Reggie Hearn was the only Northwestern starter to score a field goal against Illinois going into the second half. Eventually, the Orange and Blue found their scoring touch, shooting 52 percent from the field in the second half.
The Illini defense also stepped up, forcing 14 turnovers. By the time the game was over, Northwestern had more turnovers than field goals made (12).
Brandon Paul did not light up the score sheet, but had a solid game. He grabbed six rebounds while dishing out five assists. Abrams added three rebounds and four assists to his point total. Abrams and Richardson were the only Illini to score in double figures.
Next up, the Illini will host Penn State, who is still winless in Big Ten play, on Thursday.
VIDEO: Watch our Matt Wettersten's report from Evanston by clicking the video link above.