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Illinois Big Ten Teams Open Conference Schedule with Wins

By Benjy Lipsman in News on Jan 6, 2005 6:07PM

2005_01_sports_illinois_northwestern_logos.gifThe Big Ten opened its conference schedule last night, and both Illinois teams won their league openers in commanding fashion.

The #1 ranked University of Illinois Fighting Illini topped Ohio St. 84-65 in Champaign. While the game was tied with less than 5 minutes to go in the first quarter, the Illini pulled away in the second half. James Augustine had a career night, setting a personal best with 21 points to go with 10 boards.

In Evanston, the 8-5 Northwestern Wildcats knocked off the Indiana Hoosiers 73-52. Duke-transfer Michael Thompson scored a career high 18 points while Vedran Vukusic added 17. The rest of the Big Ten needs to watch out -- NU isn't going to be the patsy it typically is!

The two teams face each other for the first time Jan. 15 at Welsh-Ryan in Evanston. Could the 'Cats hand the Illini their first defeat of the season? Probably not, but don't count Northwestern out for a tournament bid come March.