February 21, 2018 / 2:46 AM / a year ago

Michigan State routs Illinois to lock up share of Big Ten title

Michigan State has at least a piece of the Big 10 regular season championship.

Now, the Spartans will attempt to win the whole thing.

Sophomore Miles Bridges scored 19 points to lead No. 2 Michigan State to an 81-61 win over Illinois in the home finale for the Spartans on Tuesday.

With the win, Michigan State (27-3, 15-2) clinched a share of its first Big 10 title since 2012 and can win its first outright league crown since 2009 with a win at Wisconsin on Sunday.

Junior Leron Black scored 20 points to lead Illinois (13-16, 3-13).

The Fighting Illini played a good first half, making 6 of 11 from 3-point range, forcing seven Michigan State turnovers and only trailing by three at halftime, 38-35.

But the second half was all Michigan State.

The Spartans cranked up their intensity on defense and gradually built their lead as the half rolled along.

Michigan State took a double-digit lead for the first time at 45-35 with 16:45 remaining after a free throw by sophomore Josh Langford.

The Spartans kept the pressure on, taking a 61-43 lead with 8:10 remaining on a 3-pointer by junior Kenny Goins.

Illinois couldn’t get any closer than 16 points the rest of the game and saw the Spartans lead by as many as 23 points in the second half.

Michigan State, which won its 11th straight game, outscored Illinois 43-26 in the second half.

Langford finished with 16 points and sophomore Cassius Winston added 12 points for the Spartans, who shot 47.1 percent from the field (24 of 51), outrebounded Illinois 40-28 and had only one turnover in the second half.

Freshman Trent Frazier added 14 points for Illinois, which didn’t make a 3-pointer in the second half and was held to 32.7 percent shooting (17 of 52) for the game.

Illinois has two more games left in the regular season, with those being at home against Purdue on Thursday and at Rutgers on Sunday.

—Field Level Media

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