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McCamey's jumper helps Illinois steal win

Feb 13, 2009 - 7:53 AM EVANSTON, Illinois (Ticker) -- Better late than never.

Demetrius McCamey hit a jumper with three seconds left to lift No. 20 Illinois to a 60-59 win over Northwestern on Thursday.

McCamey's jumper capped a furious comeback and gave the Fighting Illini (20-5, 8-4 Big Ten) their first lead of the the game after trailing by as many as 14 points in the second half.

Illinois scored the final 10 points and went on a 17-2 run over the closing five minutes, going 7-of-9 from the field during the spurt.

"We found a way to win a game that we shouldn't have won, to be honest," Illinois coach Bruce Weber told the Chicago Tribune. "We hope we can use it for momentum. There's a lot of season to go."

Trent Meacham scored 10 points during the run and finished with 15 on 6-of-8 shooting while McCamey led the way with 21 points, six rebounds and five assists.

The Wildcats looked comfortably ahead when Kevin Coble drained a 3-pointer with 11:20 left in the game to cap a 12-0 run and stretch the lead to 51-37.

Dominique Keller followed Coble's 3-pointer with a jumper to give the Illini their first field goal in five minutes. Illinois did not do itself any favors at the free-throw line either, missing its first eight attempts and finishing 2-of-12.

Luka Mirkovic's layup with 5:25 remaining seemed to be the nail in the coffin, pushing the lead back to 57-43, but then the wheels came off for Northwestern as it missed five of its last six shots.

"It's a step backward for us in terms of how we're playing, handling those situations," Coble told the newspaper. "We just didn't do a very good job of executing. Nobody has given us a hard time with the press all year. We didn't make the right cuts and decisions."

Mike Davis, who finished with 10 points on 5-of-9 shooting, made a layup and Meacham followed with another before McCamey snapped the free-throw drought by splitting a pair. Meacham converted a three-point play with 2:09 remaining to pull Illinois within 59-53 and buried a 3-pointer one minute later to cut it to three.

Coble scored 14 points and Mirkovic collected 14 points and 12 rebounds for Northwestern (13-9, 4-7), which managed only three field goals in the final 10 minutes.

"We played pretty well for a long time, but then we couldn't handle their pressure," Wildcats coach Bill Carmody said to the Tribune. "We seemed to be holding the ball too long."