Spartans Prevail over Fighting Illinois

In their first real road test, the Michigan State Spartans defeated the University of Illinois, 78-62, Saturday night in Champaign, Ill.

MSU came out slow, but had a consistent attack led by Gary Harris, who scored 23 points and collected five rebounds while dishing out four assists. Harris was one of three Spartans in double figures.

Denzel Valentine notched another double-double, contributing 15 points, 11 rebounds and four rebounds. Keith Appling scored 15, grabbed five rebounds and four assists.

Michigan State focused on establishing Branden Dawson in the post and allowed him to score nine points and grab six rebounds, half of which were on the offensive boards.

Matt Costello was also a force down low, especially on defense. Costello had eight points, six rebounds and six blocks.

The Spartans held Illinois to 37.7 percent shooting, while shooting 55.8 percent from the field. Michigan State shot 40 percent from behind the arc.

The Fighting Illini’s Nnanna Egwu struggled with foul trouble throughout the game and contributed only two rebounds and zero points in the game.

Adreian Payne was wearing a walking boot on the bench during the game, which marked his third straight absence.

Michigan State returns to the Breslin Center on Jan. 21 to take on the Indiana Hoosiers at 7 p.m.

Andrew Hayes is the host of Impact Izzone for Impact Sports.

Photo: David Defever/Impact Sports