Michigan State basketball ends wrong end of game streak in 75-66 loss to Illinois

Michigan State basketball ends wrong end of game streak in 75-66 loss to Illinois

CHAMPAGNE, Ill. — Michigan State basketball never found its outside shooting touch and struggled with foul calls all night.

However, the Spartans rallied and grazed deep in the second half before a ferocious comeback by Illinois ended their seven-game winning streak, 75-66, Friday night at State Farm Center.

After MSU took a nine-point lead with 14:13 to play, the Illini rallied after a technical foul on coach Brad Underwood for an 18-4 run to go up 59-54 with 7:28 to play. The Spartans tied it at 60, but Illinois’ Coleman Hawkins hit a 3-pointer and Dain Dainja returned another basket. The Illini took over with a closing 8-2 run in the final 2:25 when MSU (12-5, 3-2 Big Ten) couldn’t connect late. The Spartans missed seven of their last nine shots after tying it with 5:49 to play.

Illinois’ Terrence Shannon Jr., right, shoots as Michigan State’s Jaden Akins (3) defends during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game, Friday, Jan. 13, 2023, in Champaign, Illinois.

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The Spartans also missed all seven of their 3-pointers and shot just 34.4% in the second half. It was the Spartans’ first game without a 3-pointer since an 0-for-9 performance in a road loss at Michigan on March 4, 2021.

AJ Hoggard had 20 points, Tyson Walker scored 14, and Joey Hauser had 11 points and 11 rebounds. The Spartans couldn’t take advantage of a 42-30 rebounding advantage, and the Illini rallied with a 24-16 lead in the paint after being dominated in the first half.

Matthew Mayer scored 14 of his 19 points in a second-half comeback rally for Illinois’ third straight win (12-5, 3-3). Dainja had 20 points, and Terrence Shannon Jr. scored 17 points, but only two in the last 30-plus minutes: two free throws to freeze the game with 33 seconds remaining.

The Spartans return home to host No. 3 Purdue at 2:30 pm Monday in a Martin Luther King Jr. Day matinee. The first-place Boilermakers beat Nebraska on Friday night, 73-55.

early burst

Despite a significant disparity in fouls for much of the first half (the Spartans scored five, including a technical on assistant coach Mark Montgomery for arguing a foul, before the Illini’s first at 12:24), MSU it made its way through a physical first half. .

Michigan State coach Tom Izzo reacts during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against Illinois, Friday, Jan. 13, 2023, in Champaign, Illinois.

Michigan State coach Tom Izzo reacts during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against Illinois, Friday, Jan. 13, 2023, in Champaign, Illinois.

Jaden Akins had two blocked shots early, and the Spartans committed four turnovers in the first 5:49 of the game. They struggled to stop Shannon as the 6-foot-6 Texas Tech transfer came around and fired over the MSU defenders, scoring 11 of the Illini’s first 15 to build a five-point lead and reach 15 individual points at 10:51.

Shannon would not score again for the remainder of the half.

The Spartans, however, continued to attack the basket effectively. Hoggard drove in for a layup, followed by two from Walker, to give MSU its first lead at 25-21. That prompted Underwood to call a timeout at 8:43 to stop a 15-4 run that included six straight field goals.

It worked, and Illinois responded with a 7-0 run of its own.

Akins stopped him by finishing over Mayer, and then Carson Cooper made his presence felt 6-11 for the second straight game. The freshman center helped stabilize the defense in the paint and provided back-to-back buckets, including a rebound and layup and another finish through traffic on a Malik Hall crossover pass. That started a 10-2 run and the Spartans led 37-33 at the half.

Cooper topped his career highs with six points and four rebounds. Hoggard and Walker each scored 10 points at the half, and MSU dominated on the inside with a 22-13 advantage in rebounding and a 28-14 advantage in scoring in the paint.

Illinois' Terrence Shannon Jr. (0) cheers on the crowd as Michigan State's AJ Hoggard advances the ball during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game, Friday, Jan. 13, 2023, in Champaign, Illinois.

Illinois’ Terrence Shannon Jr. (0) cheers on the crowd as Michigan State’s AJ Hoggard advances the ball during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game, Friday, Jan. 13, 2023, in Champaign, Illinois.

crushed orange

The Spartans carried that momentum into the second half, building a nine-point lead thanks to greater dominance on the glass. That allowed MSU to open a 48-41 lead that increased to nine points when Underwood was fouled with 14:13 remaining. Hauser hit the next two free throws.

Underwood’s ploy worked. The Spartans were called for the next eight fouls, and the Illini used the energy and momentum to jump-start an 18-4 run that saw few answers from MSU. Mayer scored 10 of those points, including a pair of 3-pointers that electrified the hostile Illini “Orange Out” crowd.

Izzo used two timeouts in that section. Hoggard helped end the drought with a bucket from second and then hit another jumper in the paint. Walker scored to tie it, 60-60.

But the same comeback magic the Spartans displayed in Wisconsin earlier in the week never materialized, as 3-pointers rang out and the Illini pulled away with a final stretch.

Contact Chris Solari: csolari@freepress.com. Follow him on Twitter @chrissolari.

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This article originally appeared on the Detroit Free Press: Michigan State Basketball Beat Illinois Ultimately, 75-66

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