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Illinois loses big lead, but beats Penn St. 77-67

Jan 28, 2010 - 2:25 AM By GENARO C. ARMAS AP Sports Writer

STATE COLLEGE, Pa.(AP) -- D.J. Richardson scored 20 points and Illinois staved off a Penn State rally from a double-digit deficit in a 77-67 win Wednesday night to snap the Illini's three-game losing streak.

Down 10 early, the Nittany Lions took a 46-42 lead with 15:06 left after David Jackson's layup capped a 12-0 run. Jackson finished with 13 points, while Talor Battle had a team-high 20.

But a nearly 5-minute Penn State scoring drought gave Illinois (13-8, 5-3 Big Ten) another opening. Despite some choppy play, Mike Davis' jumper and Dominique Keller's buzzer-beating fall-away gave the Illini a 59-53 lead with 4:03 left.

Demetri McCamey's 3 from 20 feet with the shot clock winding down extended the lead to 10 with 2 minutes to go.

It was another crushing loss for the Nittany Lions (8-12, 0-8). Their winless streak in conference play is the school's worst Big Ten start since 2003.