Cold Shooting Dooms Illini In 76-56 Loss At No. 14 Michigan State

 
Illini guard Ayo Dosunmu drives spast Spartan defenders.

Illini guard Ayo Dosunmu drives spast Spartan defenders Xavier Tillman (left) and Cassius Winston in a 76-56 loss Thursday night at Michigan State

Rob McColley/for Illinois Public Media

The Fighting Illini men's basketball team lost 76-56 to No. 14 Michigan State Thursday night in East Lansing.

Cassius Winston scored 21 points for the Spartans on 7-14 shooting, including 3-5 from three-point range. Xavier Tillman was 7-10 from the floor for Michigan State, and finished with with 19 points. 

Those shooting percentages are notable because Illini fans might otherwise think there was something wrong with the baskets at Breslin Center. Illinois missed 71-percent of its shots, and converted only 3-28 attempts from behind the three-point arc.

Head coach Brad Underwood was remarkably upbeat about the loss.

"Fourteen assists, eight turnovers, 20 offensive rebounds against a Tom Izzo team. I'll take that every night," Underwood said. "And yet, the object is putting that round ball in the basket, and tonight was one of those nights. Couldn't make a basket. Couldn't make a shot."

Ayo Dosunmu and Alan Griffin led Illinois in scoring with 18 and 17 points, respectively. Dosunmu said the team had problems other than shooting, but he didn't want to divulge them publicly.

"When you shoot 29 percent from the field, and then 3-29 (actually 28) from three, that's a big reason, but a lot of other reasons I feel like," Dosunmu said. "We need to keep it closed in the locker room because it's something we can fix fast, so I'd rather not speak on it."

The Illini drop to 9-5 on the season, 1-2 in conference play. Michigan State improves to 11-3 overall. They remain undefeated in the Big Ten at 3-0.

Illinois returns to action Sunday in Champaign against Purdue. That game tips at 7:00 p.m. CT.

Story source: WILL