Photo: Nick King ~ USA TODAY NETWORK
EAST LANSING, Feb. 12, 2024 ~ The Michigan State Spartans defeated the No. 10 ranked Illinois Fighting Illini 88-80 on Saturday at the Breslin Center in East Lansing.
This game was jam-packed with exciting Big Ten Conference basketball. Despite the back-and-forth lead changes in the first half, Michigan State found themselves in an eight-point hole with six and a half minutes remaining in the half. With their backs against the wall, the Spartans went on a 10-0 run, resulting in a three-point lead going into halftime.
Feb. 12, 2024 ~ The Spartans took down No. 10 Illinois on Saturday in a massive victory as they head towards the NCAA Tournament. Michigan State Head Basketball Coach Tom Izzo talks with 760 WJR‘s Guy Gordon, Lloyd Jackson, Jamie Edmonds, and Steve Courtney about the win at the Breslin Center, and the technical fouls called against both teams.
(CONTINUED) The game’s changing tides continued as there were 10 ties and 10 lead changes in the second half alone. Michigan State eventually found themselves in another hole; down eight with just over seven and a half minutes remaining. It looked tough for Michigan State, until Malik Hall and A.J. Hoggard led the Spartans on a 24-8 run, sealing the win for Michigan State.
Hall and Hoggard combined for 45 points in the matchup, ringing in plenty of their points from the charity stripe. Hoggard also tied his career high with 23 points, finishing as the game’s leading scorer. The Spartans had four scorers in double figures, including Tyson Walker with a heavy contribution of 19 points, and Jaden Akins with 10 points.
Michigan State needed a win against a top-ranked opponent if they wanted to keep their March Madness hopes alive. Spartans’ Head Coach Tom Izzo spoke on the win and his team moving forward:
“All in all, I think we beat one of the most talented, best teams that we’ve played. What does that do for us? A lot… Flowers for now, we got another game Tuesday, quicker turnaround. But at the same time, I’m going to handle it the same way, when I thought we were awful. I’m going to give them [Michigan State players] some credit but I’m going to be guarded with it, till it’s consistent. But it does give you a point on what we can do if we do our job. Bill Belichick might be out of football, but it’s got to be the best line in coaching, ‘Do your job.’’”
With this win added to their record, Michigan State improves to 7-6 in the Big Ten and 13-2 at home. The Spartans look to improve their conference record as they travel to Centre County, Pennsylvania to take on the Penn State Nittany Lions on Wednesday. Coverage starts at 5:30 p.m. on 760 WJR.