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Hughes, Butch carry Wisconsin past struggling Illinois

Jan 11, 2008 - 7:18 AM MADISON, Wisconsin (Ticker) -- Wisconsin extended its winning streak, while Illinois continues to struggle in the Big Ten Conference.

Trevon Hughes had 22 points and Brian Butch added 16 and seven rebounds as the 21st-ranked Badgers won their seventh straight game, 70-60, over the Fighting Illini on Thursday.

The Badgers (13-2) are now 3-0 in the Big Ten for the third consecutive season and have won 12 straight conference home games.

"We were resilient, we made plays when we had to, that's a game that's going to be very typical in the Big Ten this year," Wisconsin coach Bo Ryan said. "There going to be a lot like this, and if you don't answer those and if you don't stop those teams' runs, then you find yourself on the short end."

Illinois was the last team to beat Wisconsin at the Kohl Center, but the Badgers shot 51 percent (25-of-49) from the field and led for the final 39 minutes of the contest as Fighting Illini continue to struggle this season.

The Illini (8-8, 0-3) have now dropped four straight contests for the first time since the 1998-99 campaign, and are winless through three games in Big Ten play - which has not happened since that same season nine years ago.

After Illinois scored the first basket of the contest, Wisconsin answered with the game's next 11 points for a nine-point bulge and the Badgers led by as many as 10 in the first half.

The Badgers held a 31-25 advantage at the break as the Illini shot just 31 percent (9-of-29) in the opening 20 minutes.

Illinois stayed close early in the second half and, after Trent Meacham's fourth 3-pointer of the game, the Wisconsin lead was trimmed to 42-39 with 10:13 to play.

But the Badgers answered, pulling ahead 50-41 after back-to-back 3-pointers by Jason Bohannon and Hughes with under nine minutes remaining. They took their biggest lead after an 8-0 run, a 60-46 cushion with 4:03 left.

Hughes shot 8-of-13 from the floor and added five assists and six steals.

"He found people and he took good shots, when he was open," Ryan said. "There was only one shot that I questioned, but his shot selection was very good."

Illinois outrebounded Wisconsin, 35-25, but its two leading scorers - Shaun Pruitt and Brian Randle - were held to just 13 points on 5-of-15 shooting.

Meacham and Calvin Brock each finished with 14 points for the Illini, whose next game is at No. 11 Indiana on Sunday.