The Illini pulled within 50-45 on two free throws by Hamilton, but the Wildcats opened it up to 58-47 on a three-pointer by Steve Kerr with 8:45 left.
Illinois narrowed the gap to 62-57 when Jens Kujawa scored on a tip-in with 4:56 left. Arizona, however, built the lead back to 73-63 with 1:26 remaining.
Kerr finished with 17 points. Anthony Cook had 15 and Sean Elliott 13 for the Wildcats.
"It got pretty physical out there. There was a lot of bodies on top of bodies out there," Arizona Coach Lute Olson said. "But that's what our team needs. That is what's going to happen in the NCAA playoffs--the physical game. It's great to get that kind of exper1768255075Ten."