February 11, 1999
EAST LANSING, Mich. (AP) - Thomas Kelley's 10 points led a balanced scoring attack and Michigan State (No. 4 ESPN/USA Today, No. 5 AP) tied a school record Thursday night with its 10th straight Big Ten victory, beating Illinois 61-44.
The Spartans (21-4, 10-1) also won 10 straight league games in 1956-57 and 1989-90. They lead second-place Ohio State by two games.
Cory Bradford led Illinois (10-14, 2-10) with 13 points, but the Big Ten's leading freshman scorer was only 4-for-17 from the field.
Jason Klein finished with nine points, all in the first half, for Michigan State, while A.J. Granger added eight.
The Spartans dominated the first half in taking a 33-14 lead.
Michigan State's stifling defense held the Illini to 6-for-25 shooting in the first half and forced Illinois into 10 turnovers that the Spartans converted into 13 points.
Michigan State opened the game with a 15-2 run that was capped by two straight baskets off steals by Kelley. Another 11-2 spurt, keyed by seven points from Klein, gave Michigan State its biggest lead of the first half, 30-8, with just over five minutes remaining.
Michigan State, which beat Illinois 51-49 in Champaign earlier this year, was never threatened in the second half. The Spartans' lead eventually reached 24 points late in the game.
Illinois' 32 percent shooting was the worst by a Michigan State opponent since the Spartans held Illinois-Chicago to 22 percent from the field in a 77-33 victory on Dec. 13.
The game was the first of five in an 11-day stretch for the Spartans.