NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP)-- Demetri McCamey scored 23 points as Illinois defeated Vanderbilt 69-63 on Thursday night.
McCamey's layup broke a tie with 6:22 remaining and started a 7-0 run that put the Illini (3-0) in front to stay.
"This was a real big win," McCamey said. "Last year we lost a lot of tough games. It feels good to come home with a W."
Vanderbilt (1-1) tied the game at 58 on a free throw by A.J. Ogilvy with 6:56 remaining, but then was held scoreless until Andre Walker made a layup and a foul shot with 2:13 to play.
The Commodores made just 13 of 21 free throws (61.9 percent) in the game. Jermaine Beal made a pair of free throws with 1:38 left that got the Commodores within two points. Beal then missed a game-tying layup with 22 seconds to go.
"Congratulations to them," Vanderbilt head coach Kevin Stallings, said. "They deserved to win. They did a better job of making shots and being aggressive on the boards. You have to tip your hat to them. We have a lot of room to get better."
"Losing at any time is disappointing," Vanderbilt sophomore center A.J. Ogilvy said, "but to be this early in the season is what's really hurting. Over the next few days we'll work on improving so we make sure we don't drop any more games."
Illinois was a perfect 11-for-11 from the line, including two each by Trent Meacham and Chester Frazier in the final 20 seconds.
"For us, it's a great win," said Illinois head coach Bruce Weber. "Hopefully it's a confidence builder."