CHAMPAIGN, Ill., Dec. 29 (UPI) -- Frank Williams scored 25 points Saturday night as seventh-ranked Illinois pulled away for an 87-72 victory over Loyola-Chicago in a final non-conference tuneup.
Illinois (11-2) improved to 5-0 against state schools, having also beaten Eastern Illinois, Southern Illinois, Western Illinois and Illinois State. The Illini open Big Ten play Tuesday against Minnesota.
With a contest against conference foe Northwestern on tap for Feb. 23, Illinois will play six state opponents this season, its largest total since 1945-46.
The Ramblers (5-5) gave Illinois a test and trailed by only seven points with four minutes remaining, but the Illini put away the contest with a 12-0 run. Illinois opened its biggest lead at 83-64 on Nick Smith's layup with 1:59 left.
David Bailey scored 24 points for Loyola, which has lost all eight meetings at Illinois.