No. 4 Michigan State cruises past IllinoisJan 19, 2014 - 5:58 AM Champaign, IL (SportsNetwork.com) - Gary Harris scored 23 points to lead fourth-ranked Michigan State to a 78-62 win over Illinois.
Denzel Valentine contributed 15 points and 11 rebounds, and Keith Appling also scored 15, as the Spartans (17-1, 6-0 Big Ten) won their 10th straight contest since a Dec. 4 loss to North Carolina.
Tracy Abrams had 15 points to pace the Fighting Illini (13-6, 2-4), who have dropped four in a row. Jon Ekey and Rayvonte Rice each had 12 points in defeat.
"I thought we made our fair share of mistakes on the defensive end," Illinois coach John Groce said.
Rice's jumper had the hosts within 24-22 with 4:13 left in the opening half, but the Spartans ran off the next seven points, finished by Branden Dawson's tip-in. Harris hit a jumper in the final minute to widen the gap to 35-25 at the break.
Ekey drained a 3-pointer to start the second half, but the Spartans again gained control and moved ahead by a 43-30 margin on Alex Gauna's jumper.
Adams made two free throws for a 59-53 contest with 6:09 left, but Appling responded with a 3-pointer with under six minutes left. Illinois didn't get closer than nine the rest of the way.
Illinois fell to 9-2 at home ... Michigan State coach Tom Izzo moved past Illinois legend Lou Henson for sole possession of fourth place on the Big Ten career victories list with 215 wins ... Michigan State has won eight of the last 11 meetings.
- MICHIGAN STATE: 78
Jan 18 10:13 PM
- MICHIGAN STATE: 35
Jan 18 8:59 PM
- MICHIGAN STATE: 0
1st Half - 20:00
Jan 18 8:07 PM
- Illinois' Tate rejoins basketball team after case dropped May 20
- Prosecutor: Case against Illinois' Jaylon Tate dropped May 19
- Brown gets new job at Illinois; Nunn pleads in battery case May 18
- Illinois' Nunn pleads guilty to misdemeanor, gets probation May 18
- Groce: Illinois' Black reinstated, will sit out 6 games May 6
- 9 years after Chief's end, Illinois looks for mascot May 2
- Illinois' Leron Black gets probation for threatening bouncer Apr 21
- Michigan State's Deyonta Davis enters NBA draft after 1 year Apr 12
- Deal would reduce charge, let Illinois' Black avoid jail Apr 4
- Marvin Clark and Javon Bess plan to leave Michigan State Mar 28
- After arrests, Illinois AD gives Groce another endorsement Mar 24
- Izzo will assist Davis as he explores option of entering NBA Mar 22