Rayvonte Rice scored a career-high 25 points, including the winning layup with 27 seconds left to lead Illinois past UNLV 61-59 on Tuesday night in Las Vegas.
Rice, a redshirt junior, also had a career high 10 rebounds to lead Illinois (6-0), which has not lost in its last 25 November games.
UNLV had a chance to win, but Kevin Olekaibe's desperation 3-pointer from the right corner rattled off the rim for the Rebels (2-3), who were held scoreless in the final 4:16.
Khem Birch led the Rebels with 12 points, 10 rebounds and 4 blocks.
UNLV's Roscoe Smith, the nation's leading rebounder averaging 16.3 per game, had 13 boards.
Trailing 39-29 at halftime, the Illini scored second half's first 5 points and eventually took a 51-49 lead.