Andres Feliz's aggressive play helps Illinois to a payback victory against Northwestern

When Illinois unraveled at Northwestern on Jan. 6, Illini coach Brad Underwood was encouraged by what he saw after the defeat.

The Illini were celebrating after Sunday’s 81-76 payback victory against Northwestern at the State Farm Center.

No one has personified the improvement of the Illini (11-18, 7-11 Big Ten ) throughout the season better than junior guard Andres Feliz.

He scored a season-high 26 points to lead the Illini, making 16 of 17 free throws and shooting 5 of 9 from the floor.

Despite Illinois’ struggles this season — including a five-game losing streak in late December and early January — there are clear signs of improvement.

Coach Chris Collins pointed to players being forced into unnatural positions because of injuries but said their second-half spike should make observers realize the team still has a pulse.

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