Illinois 57, Michigan St. 50
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (AP)—Chester Frazier had 17 points and Shaun Pruitt added 15 as Illinois defeated Michigan State 57-50 Tuesday night.
The Illini (16-8, 4-5 Big Ten) set the tone with a 28-17 advantage at halftime, despite struggling to put together strong first halves through much of the season and only leading after 20 minutes in two other Big Ten games.
After the half, Rich McBride hit a 3-pointer then split a pair of free throws to extend Illinois’ lead to 32-17. Michigan State’s Travis Walton answered with a 3-point play to make it 32-20 with 17:34 to go, and the teams began trading buckets.
The Spartans (17-6, 4-4) went on a 13-4 run to close Illinois’ lead to 40-36 with 8:45 to play.
Pruitt made a jumper and Frazier followed it up with a layup for Illinois before Marquise Gray matched it with a layup for Michigan State. Pruitt forced a turnover after a media timeout with 6:24 to go, and Frazier turned it into a quick jump shot to make it 46-40 Illinois with 5:46 on the clock.
The Spartans used free throws to keep it close, as Walton made both shots in two sets to put Michigan State down 48-44 with 4:12 to go.
Walton led Michigan State with 13 points, six rebounds and five assists as the Spartans dropped their second consecutive conference loss.
Illinois controlled the tempo early in the game, allowing only a jumper by Walton and a dunk by Goran Suton during an 8:57 stretch of the first half. The Illini scored 13 points off turnovers before the break, as Michigan State turned the ball over 15 times.
The Illini did get into early foul trouble, with big men Brian Carlwell, Warren Carter and Brian Randle all picking up two fouls apiece. The Spartans were in the bonus with 9:40 left in the half.
Pruitt led all scorers in the first half with eight points, while Raymar Morgan had five points and three rebounds for the Spartans.
The 11-point halftime margin mirrored the one Illinois built Jan. 14, when Michigan State came back for a 63-57 win.