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Hill scores 17 as MSU cruises

3/13/2004

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) -- Chris Hill scored 17 points and Maurice Ager
added 15 to lead Michigan State past Northwestern 68-55 in the
second round of the Big Ten tournament Friday night.

Four players reached double figures for the third-seeded
Spartans (18-10). Shannon Brown had 11 points, and Paul Davis added
10.

Jitim Young scored 24 points to lead Northwestern (14-15), which
would have been eligible for the NIT with a win over the Spartans.

Michigan State advances to Saturday's semifinals against No. 10
Wisconsin, the second seed in the tournament. The Badgers won both
regular-season meetings, including a 68-64 victory in East Lansing,
Mich., that -- had Michigan State won -- would have given the
Spartans a share of the Big Ten title.

Playing in their first game in 10 days, the Spartans appeared
well rested.

Michigan State shot 62 percent from the field and hovered above
the tournament record of 64 percent -- set by Purdue against
Minnesota in 2001 -- until late in the second half. The Spartans
were 8-of-14 from three-point range and led by as many as 20 midway
through the second half.

Sixth-seeded Northwestern appeared up to the challenge in the
early going, shooting 57.1 percent to stay within 12-10 after five
minutes of play, but cooled to just 39 percent for the game.

The Wildcats still finished the regular season with eight
conference victories for the first time since 1968.