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No. 2 Michigan State Tops Illinois 81-61, Seals Share of Title on Senior Night

Feb. 20, 2018

Final Stats |  Quotes |  Photo Gallery 1  |  Photo Gallery 2 

EAST LANSING, Mich. Sophomore guard/forward Miles Bridges scored 19 points to lead three players in double figures as No. 2/1 Michigan State used a big second half to pull away from Illinois for an 81-61 victory, clinching at least a share of the 2018 Big Ten Regular Season title.

• Michigan State has won 11-straight games and improves to 27-3 overall and 15-2 in the Big Ten Conference, while Illinois falls to 13-16 overall and 3-13 in league play.

• MSU led by three points at the break (38-35), but scored the first 12 points of the second half and took a 47-35 lead after a layup from freshman forward Jaren Jackson Jr. with 16:05 on the clock.
• The Illini went without a field goal for the first 6:10 of the second half and the Spartans extended their lead to 50-36 with 15:20 to play.
• Illinois pulled to within 52-40 on a jumper from Leron Black at the 13:09 mark, but MSU used an 11-3 run and took a 63-43 lead on a pair of free throws from Cassius Winston with 7:30 left.
• Michigan State took its biggest lead, 81-58 (23 points) on a Langford 3-pointer with 1:35 left in the game.
• The cushion allowed Head Coach Tom Izzo to put his three seniors - Lourawls "Tum Tum" Nairn Jr., Ben Carter and Gavin Schilling - in and out of the game in the final minutes, giving each of them an opportunity to kiss the school's logo at midcourt and get an ovation from the crowd.
• The Spartans went into the half with a 38-35 lead, with the Illini using a late 6-1 burst to pull within three points after free throws from Kenny Goins with 1:51 to play had given MSU a 37-30 lead.
• MSU hit its first four 3-pointers and took an early 12-8 lead and took its biggest lead, 19-11, on free throws from Miles Bridges with 12:54 left and at 21-13 with 10:28 left on a Winston jumper.
• Illinois used an 8-0 run to tie the game at 21-all on a free throw from Mark Smith 8:08 to play, but the Spartans would use a 7-0 run to take a 28-21 lead on free throws from Nick Ward with 7:06 left ... The lead was still seven points, 37-30, after the free throws from Goins, but Illinois made a late run and pulled to within three, 38-35, on a layup from Greg Eboigbodin with eight seconds left.

Key Stats
• Michigan State outscored Illinois, 43-26, in the second half.
• The Spartans handed out 20 assists on 24 made field goals.
• MSU had 14 second-chance points and scored 24 points in the paint.
• MSU connected on 84.6 percent of its free throws (22-of-26).
• After hitting 54.5 percent of their first half 3-pointers, Illinois was limited to none in the second half.
• MSU held Illinois to 27.3 percent shooting.
• After committing seven turnovers in the first half, MSU had only one in the second half.

• Michigan State's 27-3 record is the best start in program history.
• The 27 wins by the Spartans are the most in a regular season under head coach Tom Izzo.
• MSU's 11-game win streak is tied for the longest in the country with Grambling.
• Head coach Tom Izzo has led MSU to eight Big Ten Regular Season Championships.
• Michigan State started three seniors - Lourawls "Tum Tum" Nairn Jr., Ben Carter and Gavin Schilling
• MSU's 84.6 percent free throw shooting (22-of-26) ties the team season high, set earlier this year against Long Beach State (Dec. 21).
• Michigan State received 42 points from bench, a season high.
• MSU out-rebounded Illinois, 40-28, and had 10 players collect at least two boards apiece.
• Michigan State handed out 20 assists, the 15th time this season the team had at least 20.
• Miles Bridges scored in double figures for the 25th time this season and the 49th time in his career.
• Cassius Winston scored in double figures for the 24th time this season and the 30th time in his career.
• Joshua Langford tied his season and career high with five assists ... It was the 18th game this season for Langford in double figures.
• Freshman forward Jaren Jackson Jr. blocked five shots, his 13th game with at least four blocks. • Michigan State blocked 11 shots as a team, the ninth time this season with at least 10 rejections.

Michigan State closes out the regular season on Sunday, Feb. 25, visiting Wisconsin. Tipoff is slated for 2 p.m. The game will air on CBS, with Kevin Harland and Bill Raftery calling all of the action.



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