EAST LANSING, MI. (WCIA) — Leron Black scored a game high 20 points to help Illinois only trail by three points at half at No. 2 Michigan State but the Spartans started the second half on a big run and never looked back, walking out on senior night with an 81-61 win.
As is tradition with Michigan State, head coach Tom Izzo called a timeout for each senior Spartan as they left the Breslin Center floor for the last time. Facing another 20-point loss, Illinois head coach Brad Underwood turned to his bench and pointed to the opposing team.
“I want them to be able to do that,” Underwood said. “I want them to play for being able to kiss the floor in front of 15,000. That’s when you’re invested in the program. That’s the growth I’m looking for.”
It often felt like there wasn’t much growth for Illinois against Michigan State. Within three at the half, missed layups and foul trouble plagued the Illini in the second.
“We were fouling too much,” Illinois junior Leron Black said. “We got way too many fouls right at the beginning of the second half. They was just outplaying us, playing harder than us.”
“It’s very frustrating,” Illinois freshman guard Trent Frazier said. “We’re still learning. We’ve got a couple guys still learning the system. Those hurt us. We had the number one team beat.”