CHAMPAIGN, Ill. -- Illinois needed a career-high performance from Malcolm Hill to outlast Northern Kentucky 79-64 on Sunday night.The senior scored a career-high 40 points and brought down 12 rebounds to help Illinois (2-0) fight through a first half where the Illini trailed 33-31 at halftime and struggled to hold off the Norse off until the end.It was something I was working on over the summer, Hill said. This is just one of the games that showed a lot of the hard work and dedication that Ive put into my 3-point shot.The Illini shot 44 percent from the field but were 20-30 from the free-throw line.Michael Finke also scored in double figures, adding 10 points and 11 rebounds for the Illini.Illinois coach John Groce credited his veteran team for the polite conversation at halftime to change the teams energy and focus.Our seniors responded big time in the second half, he said. I thought we came out with a lot more aggressiveness, a lot more attacking mentality.Lavone Holland II led Northern Kentucky (1-1) with 13 points, which kept the Norse in the game until the final eight minutes.The Norse held a 43-32 rebound advantage despite Northern Kentuckys tallest players being 6-foot-7.Northern Kentucky was sloppy with the ball for most of the game, committing 18 turnovers that led to 21 Illinois points.Our youth showed when things went bad and I thought their veteran leadership showed with their run, Northern Kentucky coach John Brannen said.BIG PICTUREIllinois: The Illini will have a lot to work on despite the win. They will have a few games to work out the kinks before tougher opponents appear on the schedule.Northern Kentucky: The Norse can hold their heads up despite the loss. Northern Kentucky competed well throughout the game against a Big Ten opponent.TURNING POINTIllinois and Northern Kentucky exchanged baskets and the lead for much of the start of the second half until Hill took over. He scored 29 points in the half and helped put the game away.HIGHLIGHT REELTracy Abrams got the State Farm Center crowd excited when he came from behind to block a Drew McDonald fast break layup.UP NEXTIllinois will play its third game in five nights when the Illini host McKendree on Tuesday night.Northern Kentucky will try to rebound after its first loss of the season on Friday when the Norse play Austin Peay in the Tarkett Sports Classic in Oxford, Ohio.---More AP college basketball: http://collegebasketball.ap.orgWillie Stargell Jersey Large .ca looks back at the stories and moments that made the year memorable. Authentic Custom Pirates Jersey . -- Jonathan Drouin gave Halifax the boost it needed to edge host Sherbrooke Phoenix 3-2 in a shootout in Quebec Major Junior Hockey League action. http://www.custompiratesjersey.com/ . The news was first reported on Gonzalezs Twitter account and confirmed by the Rockies. Gonzalez has a six-week window before position players have their first workout at spring training in Arizona. Pirates Jerseys China . Louis Blues absence from top spot in the TSN. Cheap Pirates Jerseys . Vettel, who has already clinched his fourth straight F1 title, enters the finale with a chance to equal Michael Schumachers 13 victories in a year and match the record of nine consecutive wins by Alberto Ascari in the 1952 and 1953 seasons. CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. -- Michael Birdsong threw four touchdowns as Tennessee Tech beat Austin Peay 41-7 on Saturday.Birdsong was 19-of-27 for 280 yards passing for the Golden Eagles (1-1, 1-0 Ohio Valley Conference). Yeedee Thaenrat ran for 84 yards and a score on 14 carries and Nick Madonia kicked two field goals. Tennessee Tech amassed 493 total yards and held Austin Peay to 243.Thaenrat scored on a 25-yard run early in the first quarter and Birdsong threw three touchdowns in the first half, including aa 39-yarder to Jordan Smith, to help lift Tennessee Tech a 28-0 lead at the break.ddddddddddddBirdsong hit Brock McCoin for a 10-yard score with 6:07 left in the third quarter and Madonias two field goals in the fourth sealed the win for the Golden Eagles.Timarious Mitchell threw for 128 yards and a score for the Governors (0-2, 0-1). He also ran for 64 yards on nine carries. ' ' '