Men's Basketball
Illini Fall to Sharp-Shooting Spartans, 78-62

Kendrick Nunn shoots a three over Michigan State's Alvin Ellis III.
Kendrick Nunn shoots a three over Michigan State's Alvin Ellis III.

Jan. 18, 2014

Highlights | Box Score | Photos | Postgame Press Conference

Michigan St. 35 43 78
Illinois 25 37 62
Illini Top Performers
Tracy Abrams 15 pts, 3 rebs, 3 assists
Rayvonte Rice 12 pts, 5 rebs, 2 assists
Jon Ekey 12 pts, 2 rebs
Game Stats
Illinois MSU
FG Percentage 38% 56%
3-point Percentage 30% 40%
FT Percentage 90% 64%
Def. Rebounds 16 28
Off. Rebounds 9 9
Assists 8 15
Steals 5 5
Turnovers 9 13
Blocks 1 7
Next Game
Illinois at Ohio State
Thursday, Jan. 23    6 pm CT    ESPN
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CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (AP) - Gary Harris scored 23 points to lead No. 4 Michigan State past Illinois 78-62 on Saturday night.

Tracy Abrams led Illinois with 15 points. Rayvonte Rice and Jon Ekey each had 12.

Michigan State owned the boards early against the Illini (13-6, 2-4), outrebounding them 24-10 over the first 20 minutes. The Spartans used that edge to open up a 10-point lead by halftime and held the Illini at arm's length the rest of the night.

Denzel Valentine and Keith Appling each added 15 points for the Spartans.

Illinois closed to within six at 59-53 with 6:11 in the game on a pair of free throws by Abrams.

But almost as quick as those shots sparked a little hope for Illinois, Appling snuffed it out with a long 3-pointer from the top of the arc.

Michigan was up 62-53 with 5:43 to play, and with the Illini shooting 37.7 percent and unable to drum up many second chances, Michigan was comfortably out front.

Michigan State outrebounded Illinois 38-25. Valentine was at times dominant, particularly in the first half. He had nine rebounds by halftime.

The Spartans also made the most of their shots, sinking 55.8 percent of them.

Illinois has a tough road ahead with its next four at No. 11 Ohio State, at Indiana and then at home against No. 14 Iowa and No. 3 Wisconsin.