After losing twice to Illinois last season, the 2022-23 Spartans were determined to return to their home floor with a different outcome. However, in a conference battle without a single MSU make from behind the arc and four lead changes, Illinois squashed the Spartans’ chance at an eight game win streak, with a final of 75-66.
Michigan State hasn't had a game without a successful 3-point shot since 2021.
Junior guard A.J. Hoggard collected 20 points alongside four rebounds. Hoggard led the team on the court throughout the entirety of the game, appearing open when the Spartans were in need of a quick bucket.
Turnovers seemed to be a problem for the Spartans early on in the first half, as Michigan State gifted the ball to the Fighting Illini four times in the first ten minutes of play, compared to their opponents' two turnovers.
Senior guard Terrence Shannon Jr. served as another obstacle. Shannon collected 15 of the Fighting Illini’s 19 points in under the first 10 minutes of the half.
Senior guard Tyson Walker kept the green and white in the game in the first half, going on a personal 8-0 run.
Freshman center Carson Cooper played extensive minutes in the middle as junior center Mady Sissoko picked up two personal fouls in the first half.
Cooper’s 12 minutes against Wisconsin seemed to prepare him for Illinois, as he notched a career-high of six points and led the Spartans with four rebounds at the half.
On the boards, MSU outrebounded its opponent in the first half, 22-13.The Spartans dominated in the paint, netting 34 of their 37 points from inside. Despite the challenges the Illinois presented, Michigan State led the Fighting Illini 37-33 at the half.
Michigan State played strong second half defense, holding Shannon to two points.
Graduate student forward Joey Hauser heated up in the second half, racking up 11 total rebound and holding his own against tough defender, junior forward Coleman Hawkins.
With 14 minutes to play, MSU led by nine. In just over six minutes and a few Spartan turnovers later, it was all tied up at 54 with 8:57 in the game.
Illinois took back the lead shortly after and senior forward Malik Hall began limping on what looked to be his previously injured ankle. The Illini offense came alive in the final few minutes of the game, tearing down Michigan State’s chance at another win on the road.