Poor Shooting Sinks Illini Men, 60-53
Michigan State avenged its February 7 home loss by beating the Illini men in basketball last night in Champaign. The final score was 60-53.
Shooting percentage was the difference — Michigan State hit 85 percent of its free throws, while Illinois converted less than 29 percent of its shots from the floor.
National media outlets saw the contest as a play-in game for the NCAA Tournament, but Spartans' coach Tom Izzo rejected that mindset.
After the game, Coach Izzo said the Illini deserved more credit and both teams fought a "war".
"I think our league has got to give a little more credit, cause that was a war," said Izzo, "That was as tough as any of the non-conference teams we've played and to shoot 85 percent from the line is normal for Illinois, but very abnormal for Michigan State."
Denzel Valentine led all scorers with 20 points for Michigan State. Travis Trice added 18.
Malcolm Hill led Illinois with 17 points, with Rayvonte Rice adding 15.
The Illini now stand 17-and-10 on the year, 7-and-7 in conference.
Michigan State improves to 19-8 (10-4).
The Illini return to action Wednesday night at Iowa at 8 p.m. on the Big Ten Network.