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Spartans pull out big road victory for fourth straight win

The tough stretch of games continued for the Michigan State Spartans and head coach Tom Izzo. With a win at home against the nationally ranked Ohio State Buckeyes and another on the road versus rival Michigan, Michigan State took their game to Champaign, Illinois to square off with a dangerous Illinois Fighting Illini squad. Both teams fought hard until the very end in a typical Big Ten affair, with the Spartans hanging on for their 4th straight win, 60-53.

The Spartans faced another gut checking opponent in a game that went back and forth throughout most of the first half, until MSU went on an 8-0 run to close the half and take a 4-point lead into the locker room. Izzo and the guys in green never looked back for the rest of the game, as they never trailed in the 2nd half. Guard Denzel Valentine led the team in scoring with 20 points and also grabbed 9 rebounds. Forward Branden Dawson was the only other starter to eclipse double figures, scoring 13. Guard Travis Trice was arguably the player of the game for MSU, scoring 18 off the bench and going 10 for 12 from the free throw line.

Illinois was cold from the field for majority of the game too, as only two of their eight dressed players could get into double figures in scoring. Guard Malcolm Hill was the only starter with 10+ points, scoring 17. The other to do so was guard Rayvonte Rice, who scored 15 points off the bench.

Some key things to take away from this big conference matchup:

-Both teams were not very good shooting from beyond the arc. MSU went 3 for 15, while Illinois went 2 for 16.

-Both teams impressed at the strike, particularly the Spartans. They converted on 17 of their 20 free throw attempts, while the Illini shot 75%, going 21 of 28.

The difference in the game? Michigan State shot over 42% from the field in the game. Illinois struggled mightily, shooting only 28.8%.

UP NEXT:

Michigan State heads back home to East Lansing to take on the Minnesota Golden Gophers on Thursday, Feb. 26 (7:00 P.M.).

Illinois hits the road for a big, conference positioning matchup versus the Iowa Hawkeyes on Wednesday, Feb. 25 (9:00 P.M.)

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