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Illini send out seniors on top

James Augustine was so nervous that he airballed his first free throw. Dee Brown was 2-of-12 from the field.

It wasn't exactly the way Illinois' two senior stars wanted to play in their home finale. But their teammates came to the rescue, and the eighth-ranked Illini beat No. 20 Iowa 71-59 Saturday.

"They both had special careers here so we wanted to send them out with a bang on their last night at Assembly Hall," said Rich McBride, who scored 15 to lead Illinois and keep it in the hunt for a third straight Big Ten championship.

The Hawkeyes lost their second straight for the first time in conference play and fell out of first place for the first time since Jan. 30. They fell into a second-place tie with Illinois, one game behind Ohio State.

"We've been in first place for almost six weeks. That's a heck of a stretch," Iowa coach Steve Alford said. "We're 20-8 and 9-5 in the best conference in the country and we have two big home games left."

Illini coach Bruce Weber said it was fitting that Brown and Augustine went out with a win.

"They're two pretty special players," he said. "If we wouldn't have found a way to win, it would have been a bad ending to a special career for those guys here in Assembly Hall."

It was the 111th victory for Brown and Augustine, breaking the school record they shared with Nick Smith, who set it last season.

Brian Randle scored 13 for Illinois, Augustine recovered from foul trouble to score 12 and grab seven rebounds, and the bench outscored the Hawkeyes' reserves 17-6.

NO. 5 GONZAGA 75, S.D. 59: J.P. Batista had 26 points and 11 rebounds as the Bulldogs won their 37th consecutive home game, the longest streak in the nation.

Adam Morrison, the nation's leading scorer averaging 29, was held to a season-low 11 points, but Gonzaga kept alive its hopes of a second undefeated West Coast season in three years.

San Diego led early in the second half, but Batista scored 18 after halftime to sink the Toreros' hopes.

The Bulldogs have not lost at home since Feb. 19, 2003, to Portland. They won their 15th straight overall, second longest in the nation behind George Washington's 16.

NO. 6 G.W. 78, FORDHAM 67: Maureece Rice scored 13 of his 19 in the final seven minutes and the visiting Colonials extended the nation's longest winning streak to 16.

George Washington played its first game without second-leading scorer and rebounder Pops Mensah-Bonsu, who injured his knee against La Salle on Wednesday and will miss the final two games of the regular season.

Danilo Pinnock added 17 points and eight rebounds and Carl Elliott had 16 points the Colonials, who tied the school record for wins set in 1953-54 and matched in 1997-98.

Marcus Stout had 18 points and Jermaine Anderson added 17 for the Rams, who lost their fourth straight overall and seventh in a row to the Colonials.

NO. 13 OHIO ST. 64, MICH. 54: Terence Dials had his fifth consecutive double double (22 points, 11 rebounds) as the host Buckeyes stayed atop the Big Ten.

Ohio State, which won its third straight, hit 16 of 22 free throws while the Wolverines were 6-of-9.

Ron Coleman scored 13, Daniel Horton - who had 39 points against Illinois in his last game - finished with 12 and Courtney Sims had 10 points and 10 rebounds for Michigan, which dropped its fourth straight on the road.

NO. 22 OKLA. 71, KANSAS ST. 70: Taj Gray scored 23, including the go-ahead basket with 1:15 to play, and Terrell Everett added 12 points and 10 assists for the host Sooners.

The Wildcats had one last chance, but Dramane Diarra's contested putback came up short and Oklahoma survived for its third straight one-point victory.

It was the second straight one-point loss to a Top 25 team for Kansas State, which was beaten by No. 7 Texas 65-64 on Wednesday. The Wildcats have lost nine games by five points or fewer, surpassing the 1938-39 and 1977-78 teams for the most losses by that margin in school history.

S. ILLINOIS 46, NO. 25 N. IOWA 45: Ben Jacobsen's 3-pointer from the corner fell short and the visiting Panthers lost their second straight since reclaiming a spot in the Top 25.

Tony Young banked in a winning 8-foot jumper with 7 seconds left.

Matt Shaw scored 16 on 6-of-12 shooting for the Salukis, who held a 24-20 halftime lead despite shooting 35 percent in the first half. Shaw also connected on two 3-pointers, more than the entire Northern Iowa team.