No. 7 Spartans Unable To Stop Streaking Illini
Jan. 5, 2006
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (AP) - Dee Brown scored a career-high 34 points and No. 6 Illinois held No. 7 Michigan State nearly 33 points below its average to win their Big Ten-opening showdown 60-50 on Thursday night.
The Illini (15-0) extended their home winning streak to 30 games, matching No. 8 Gonzaga for the longest current run in the country.
Maurice Ager, the Big Ten's leading scorer at 20 points per game, was held to nine on 3-of-8 shooting as the Spartans (12-3) had their 11-game winning streak snapped.
Shannon Brown had 17 points for Michigan State, which was held to its lowest point total since falling 71-51 to Illinois at the Assembly Hall on Feb. 10, 2004.
Dee Brown scored 23 points in the first half and was 7-of-13 from behind the 3-point line including a 30-foot bailout as the shot clock wound down and a buzzer beater at halftime. The Illini were 10-of-21 from behind the arc overall, with Rich McBride hitting a 3 with 31 seconds left that made it 58-50.
Brown's outside shooting helped the Illini make up for a poor shooting night by their big men. James Augustine, Shaun Pruitt and Marcus Arnold combined for a woeful 4-for-12 from the field, missing several easy layups and tips, and Augustine committed seven turnovers.
The Spartans never could get their fast break going. Brian Randle corralled Ager and Dee Brown and McBride consistently beat Shannon Brown down the floor on defense.
Paul Davis added 12 points for the Spartans.
Illinois students were still off for their holiday break, but the Assembly Hall was full and it was loud. A sizable contingent of the Orange Krush student section came back for the game and started chanting when the teams began their pregame warmups.
Once the game began it was a typical Big Ten battle with both coaches screaming at the officials. Illinois' Bruce Weber drew a technical foul with 2:29 left in the first half after his complaint to J.D. Collins was heard by most in the building during a free throw attempt by Augustine.
Earlier, Michigan State coach Tom Izzo had a heated exchange with Steve Wellmer during a timeout. Wellmer walked away.
Illinois went up 8-2 on Brown's 3-pointer 3:03 into the game. But the Illini offense struggled and Davis led the Spartans back with two free throws, a fast break layup and a dunk that gave Michigan State a 13-10 lead with 13:19 left. It was their only lead of the night.
The Illini then ran off nine straight points but Michigan State closed to 20-19 on Goran Suton's layup before Illinois put together another 11-2 run to take a 31-21 lead with 2:57 to go. The Illini led 35-28 at halftime.
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