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.