The streak continues! The Illinois Fighting Illini were able to push their winning streak to 3-games after upsetting the #18 Michigan State Spartans, 53-46, in East Lansing.
From the word “go,” Illinois seemed in control of the game. They led 21-9 at the 10:30 mark of the 1st half, but MSU was able to reduce the deficit to zero at halftime, and hung with the Illini the entire game.
How did Illinois do it? How did they upset the #18 Spartans? That answer would be effective shooting and defense.
Illinois made 47.7% of their baskets on Saturday, and seemed to look much like they did during their non-conference schedule from earlier this year.
The top three performers for the Illini were Tracy Abrams, Rayvonte Rice, and Malcolm Hill.
All three players scored double-figures with 12, 10, and 10 points respectively. Rice was also able to add six rebounds and five steals to his stat line as well.
Defensively, the Illini looked very good against the Spartans in the shocking upset.
Groce’s bunch forced Izzo’s guys to turn the ball over 16 times and altered several MSU shots.
As stated earlier, Rice had himself five steals in the game, but he was not alone.
Abrams was also able to record five total steals and Illinois finished with fourteen steals all together.
Illinois was also able to hold MSU under 50 points in the game. This is the first time any team has done so this season.
There’s no doubt that this win over #18 Michigan State should help Illinois’ tournament chances, but they aren’t in yet.
The Fighting Illini are picking up some momentum and will look to cintinue it against the best team in the Big Ten on Wednesday in the Michigan Wolverines.
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