Spartans Win "Heavyweight Boxing Match" vs. Illinois, 60-53
Denzel Valentine (MSU) drives against Malcolm Hill (ILL)
CHAMPAIGN, ILL. (AP) -- Travis Trice scored 18 points off the bench, including a pair of late free throws, to help Michigan State seal a win over Illinois Sunday night, 60-53.
Illinois coach John Groce called it "a heavyweight boxing match" as Michigan State (19-8, 10-4 Big Ten) ran its winning streak to four games in a physical, sometimes chippy road victory.
The Spartans led by as many as 11 with less than five minutes to play. But Illinois (17-10, 7-7) closed to within three points and with 38 seconds to play had a chance to tie, but Kendrick Nunn missed a 3-pointer.
Trice brought down the rebound, drew a foul and hit the free throws.
Denzel Valentine led Michigan State with 20 points and nine rebounds. Branden Dawson added 13 points and seven boards. Matt Costello fouled out late.
Malcolm Hill led Illinois with 17 points and Rayvonte Rice added 15. The Illini have lost two straight.