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No. 1-Ranked Arizona Holds Off Illinois in the Second Half, 78-70

January 31, 1988|From Times Wire Services

TUCSON — Tom Tolbert scored 20 points, and top-ranked Arizona withstood 21 second-half points by Lowell Hamilton to turn back No. 13 Illinois, 78-70, Saturday.

The Illini pulled within 50-45 on two free throws by Hamilton, but the Wildcats opened it up to 58-47 on a three-pointer by Steve Kerr with 8:45 left.

Illinois narrowed the gap to 62-57 when Jens Kujawa scored on a tip-in with 4:56 left. Arizona, however, built the lead back to 73-63 with 1:26 remaining.

Kerr finished with 17 points. Anthony Cook had 15 and Sean Elliott 13 for the Wildcats.

Arizona improved to 20-1, and Illinois fell to 14-6. It was Arizona's fourth victory over a Big Ten opponent in four games. The other victims were Iowa, Michigan and Michigan State.

"It got pretty physical out there. There was a lot of bodies on top of bodies out there," Arizona Coach Lute Olson said. "But that's what our team needs. That is what's going to happen in the NCAA playoffs--the physical game. It's great to get that kind of exper1768255075Ten."

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