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1/11 Big Ten Recap: Illinois Tops MSU

Recap all the Big Ten action from Thursday.

NCAA Basketball: Michigan State at Illinois Ron Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

The Big Ten had two games on Wednesday night, highlighted by a road trip for Wisconsin in Columbus. Penn State also hosted Northwestern.

Let’s take a look at what happened.

Game of the Night:

-No. 10 Illinois Fighting Illini 71, Michigan State Spartans 68

Both teams entered this one coming off tough losses over the weekend after productive finishes to December. Illinois lost on the road against Purdue and Michigan State fell against Northwestern on Sunday. Thursday’s meeting figured to be a chance for one side to rebound and start building a case as a Big Ten contender.

The game itself would prove highly competitive. Both sides had their moments. Illinois led early, but Michigan State responded after that. Things would eventually go down to the final minutes with the Illini getting just enough to edge out a win. Coleman Hawkins impressed in the win, finishing with 15 points, seven rebounds, and two assists. Marcus Domask also had 15 points, six rebounds, and five assists.

Illinois improved to 12-3 overall and 3-1 in Big Ten play with the win, keeping pace with everyone but Wisconsin in the league standings. However, it was an even more important win from a psychological perspective. Friday’s loss to Purdue was something weighing on this team. Getting back on track so quickly is encouraging, particularly with the uncertainty surrounding Terrence Shannon. The team very much needs to take things a game at a time.

On the other side, Michigan State fell to 9-7 overall and 1-4 in Big Ten play with the loss. This will be a tough one for fans to stomach, particularly after last Sunday’s loss to Northwestern. Even with a tough slate, starting 1-4 in Big Ten play is unheard of in East Lansing. Tom Izzo needs to get his team back on track and soon. Even a few more missteps could put the Spartans on the bubble.

Illinois will return to action on Sunday at home against Maryland. The Illini are pretty significant favorites in that one. Michigan State will get Rutgers at home on Sunday.

The Rest:

-Maryland Terrapins 64, Michigan Wolverines 57

This was an absolutely hideous looking game for large portions of the evening. Neither team even hit a point a possession, struggling to find consistently. Michigan led by double-digits early, but fell apart in the opening minutes of the second half as Maryland grabbed the win at home. Donta Scott led the way with 22 points and four rebounds. Julian Reese also had 14 points and 13 rebounds.

Maryland improved to 10-6 overall and 2-3 in Big Ten play with the win while Michigan fell to 6-10 overall and 1-4 in Big Ten play with the loss. The Terps will return to action on Sunday on the road against Illinois. Michigan will get arch-rival Ohio State at home on Monday.