Matt Stevens, IlliniGuys Staff Writer
February 10, 2024
A late-game meltdown cost Illinois an important road game but may give Michigan State the resume win they needed to make the NCAA Tournament.
Illinois managed just one field goal in the final seven minutes and 38 seconds of play to turn an eight-point lead into an 88-80 loss inside the Breslin Center in East Lansing, Michigan.
Michigan State outscored Illinois 23-8 from the under-eight minutes media timeout to the final buzzer to give the Spartans (15-9, 7-6 in Big Ten play) only its third Quad 1 victory of the 2023-24 season.
No. 10 Illinois (17-6, 8-4) found itself ranked in the Top 10 in February since in 17 years and 28 points from Terrence Shannon Jr. wasn’t enough to hold off the Spartans from knocking off a ranked team.
Michigan State had 13 points off just nine Illinois turnovers but back-to-back turnovers by the Illini simply trying to advance the ball past midcourt around two minutes to go all but sealed this game thanks to a transition layup by Tyson Walker and a pair of free throws from A.J. Hoggard. These plays came in the midst of an 8-0 MSU run that saw Illinois lose its final lead of the afternoon.
Shannon’s 28 points were the most for the senior guard since returning to the active roster following an injunction in federal court allowed him to immediately participate in team practices and games. However, Shannon needed 19 field goal attempts to get to that point total and was 2 of 9 from beyond the three-point arc.
Michigan State got 38 points in the paint Saturday as their drives to the basket led to them shooting 53 percent from the field and getting to the free throw line 34 times. The 88 points given up by the Illini are the most to a Big Ten opponent in a 40-minute regulation game since March 7, 2020.
Michigan State began Saturday out of the projected NCAA Tournament field by CBS Sports analyst Jerry Palm but safely in the field as an eight seed by ESPN.com analyst Joe Lunardi.
Illinois was in search of its first two-game win streak in East Lansing since a 53-46 win on March 1, 2014, followed by a 59-54 victory on Feb. 7, 2015. However, foul trouble and ineffective play led to getting just nine total points from the power forward spot consisting of Quincy Guerrier and Luke Goode.
Michigan State got 23 points from Hoggard as he was 12 of 13 from the foul line but more importantly fifth-year senior Malik Hall responded after a disappointing outing at Minnesota with 22 points on 7 of 9 shooting with five rebounds in 36 minutes.
Coleman Hawkins finished the game with 14 points but was just 5 of 12 from the field and foul trouble - which started with an early technical foul before the first media timeout led to an afternoon where he saddled with foul trouble throughout each of the two halves of play.
With Wisconsin’s 22-point loss today at Rutgers, Illinois still has sole possession of second place in the Big Ten standings but are now two games behind defending Big Ten champion Purdue.
Illinois will return home to Champaign in its next contest as they host Michigan on Tuesday for a 6 p.m. CST tip on Peacock.
I on the Illini post-game podcast will be out soon.
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