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