Illinois' upset bid falls short at No. 2 Michigan State

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Illinois freshman Mark Smith prepares for tipoff at the Breslin Center in East Lansing, Mich., where he could have been wearing a green and white jersey had he chosen to play for Michigan State. Illinois freshman Mark Smith prepares for tipoff at the Breslin Center in East Lansing, Mich., where he could have been wearing a green and white jersey had he chosen to play for Michigan State.

EAST LANSING, MICH. -- Illinois came in to Tuesday night's game with No. 2 Michigan State a 16-point underdog, but Leron Black and Co. found themselves down just three at the half.

The second half was a different story, however, as the Spartans raced away from there and won 81-61 on their Senior Night. In securing the win, Michigan State guaranteed itself at least a share of the Big Ten regular season title. If the Spartans win on Sunday at Wisconsin they will also clinch the outright title.

Illinois (13-16, 3-13) was led by Leron Black's 20 points and Trent Frazier's 14 points on 4-of-13 shooting. Michigan State (27-3, 15-2) got 19 points from Miles Bridges, 16 from Josh Langford and 12 off the bench from its scrappy spark plug Cassius Winston.

For the game, Illinois turned the ball over just five times but shot 32.7 percent and lost the rebound battle 40-28. 

There's very little time for coach Brad Underwood and Co. to rest -- the Illini play No. 9 Purdue on Thursday in the team's home finale, a 6:00 p.m. tipoff on FS1.

Footage courtesy: WILX-TV in Michigan

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