CHAMPAIGN, IL.-The Michigan State Spartans swat down a constant Illinois second half rally and in doing so, clinched at least a share of the Big Ten Conference.
Kalin Lucas recorded 18 points, Raymar Morgan scored 14, and the Spartans (23-5, 13-3 Big Ten) topped Illinois 74-66 before 16,618 fans at the Assembly Hall Friday.
With 7:19 remaining in the second half, Jeff Jordan stole the ball from Michigan State and scored on a running lay-up as he fell down to tie the game at 58-all. It was the first time all day the Spartans didn't hold the lead.
However, the Fighting lllini were never able to take the lead. Mike Davis hit one of two free throws to make it 60-59, but the Spartans went on a 9-2 run to take a 69-61 lead with 37 seconds left in the game and put the game away.
An Illinois win would have opened the door for a potential Big Ten tie between any combination of the Fighting Illini (23-7, 11-6), Purdue and Michigan State. Now, Michigan Stateguaranteed a share of the conference.
Michigan State threatened to blow the game open when it began the game with a 7-0 lead. The Illini kept the game close throughout and in the first half, the score was within one basket at 11-9, 13-11, 20-18 and 27-26. At halftime the Spartans led 37-30.
On Senior Day, Trent Meacham (six points), Calvin Brock (six) and Chester Fraizer played in the final regular season home game at the Assembly Hall.
Mike Tisdale led Illinois with 15 points with five rebounds. Mike Davis added 13 points and both Frazier and Demetri McCamey scored 10.
Adam Musto is a Journalism student at the University of Illinois