Shorthanded Illinois holds on for upset of Michigan State, takes sole possession of first place in the B1G
Illinois did not make a field goal over the final 6 minutes of game time against Michigan State. The Illini did not even score over the final 5:30 of game time but still managed to hang on for a 56-55 win over the Spartans.
Playing without star big man Kofi Cockburn and point guard Andre Curbelo, No. 24 Illinois built a big 34-20 lead over No. 10 Michigan State. More turnover problems for the Spartans (9 in the first half) put Tom Izzo’s squad in a big hole once again.
In the second half, Michigan State started to chip away at the deficit, a push that was aided by foul trouble from Illinois. The Spartans outscored the Illini 14-4 over the final 9 minutes of the game, and it all ultimately came down to the free-throw line.
Malik Hall was fouled by Coleman Hawkins with less than a second left on the clock. Hall went to the line for 2 free throws but missed the front end with a chance to tie the game. Trying to miss the 2nd on purpose in an attempt at a tip-in, Hall hailed the free throw. Illinois ended the game with a simple inbound pass.
Trent Frazier led the Illini with 16 points and 5 assists, though he was uncharacteristically off from deep with a 2-for-10 shooting night from 3-point range. Marcus Bingham Jr. led the Spartans with 13 points while Tyson Walker and Max Christie shot a combined 4-for-18 from the field.
With the win, the Illini move to 7-2 and first place in the B1G, ending a 2-game losing streak in conference play. After a double-digit road win vs. Wisconsin, the Spartans fall to 6-2 in conference play and are tied with the Badgers for 2nd place in the B1G.