Illini beat Auburn to end United Center skid

Illinois ended its United Center slump. It wasn’t without a little thrill, though.Illinois gave up a double-digit lead against Auburn to fight off a comeback attempt by the Tigers for an 81-79 victory on Saturday afternoon.

The Illini had lost three in a row and five of the last six at the Bulls’ home, an annual venue for a game.

Illinois let its double-digit lead slip to just 68-67 with less than five minutes remaining. Poor free throws and some spotty defense was overcome by a career day from Tracy Abrams.

The point guard led the way with a career-high 27 points

His production was needed as Brandon Paul suffered a rare off night with 14 points.

The Illini allowed Auburn to outrebound them 20-12 and shoot 5 of 10 on 3-pointers in the first half to lead 47-42.

The game was a final warmup to the Big Ten schedule, which begins Jan. 2 at Purdue.

By Shannon Ryan, Tribune reporter

Copyright © 2012 Chicago Tribune Company, LLC

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