East Lansing, Mich. — You can live by the three, and you can die by the three. Thursday night, the Illini died by the three.
Illinois (9-5) lost its second conference game of the season against Michigan State (11-3) on Thursday night at the Breslin Center in East Lansing, 76-56
The slow starts that plagued Illinois at the beginning of the season returned against the Spartans. The Spartans’ quick pace on the offense kept the Illini on their heels. Michigan State jumped out to a quick lead with an 11-2 run in the first four minutes and never relinquished the lead.
Illinois once again struggled to get the ball down low, that combined with the no first-half threes spelled disaster for the Illini offense. Michigan State’s help defense neutralized Kofi Cockburn early, Cockburn got into foul trouble early and was a non-factor in the first half. Despite the poor shooting, Ayo Dosunmu took the game in his own hands. His thirteen points in the first half always kept Illinois within ten of the Spartans. Ayo and Alan Griffin closed the lead to five but a foul behind the arc from Trent Frazier gave the Spartans a six-point lead at the half.
Michigan State kept Illinois at bay in the second half. The Illini gained some momentum after Griffin hit the first three for Illinois but two follow up threes from the Spartans buried the Illini beneath an 18-point lead. Despite a large Spartans lead, Dosunmu and Griffin never gave up, combining for 33-points. Winston continued dominating the court with nine points in the second half to give the Spartans their third conference win.
Moments that Mattered
Foul Trouble: Giorgi and Kofi got into foul trouble early forced Underwood to go to the bench. Illinois needs both Giorgi and Kofi to have good games for Illinois to beat ranked opponents this year.
Three point shooting: Illinois shot 3-for-27 from beyond the arc. Trent Frazier and Ayo Dosunmu have not been making threes this year and it is hindering the Illini’s chance of going to the tournament this year.
You Gotta See This
This wasn’t a charge.
This was a real stat at one point in the first half. Gross.
Live stat: Illini 17-for-86 in high-major games. 19.8 percent.— Derek Piper (@DPiper247) January 3, 2020
Tweet of the Game
BuT AyO's DrAfT sToCk Is FalLiNg...— The Champaign Room (@Champaign_Room) January 3, 2020
The Illini return to the StateFam center to take on the Purdue Boilermakers. Tipoff is set for 7 p.m. CT on Sunday in Champaign and will be broadcast on FS1.