(10) Illinois 75

(25-5, 11-5 Big Ten)

(25) Michigan State 68

(20-10, 8-8 Big Ten)

    12:00 PM ET, March 4, 2006

    Jack Breslin Student Events Center, East Lansing, Michigan

    1 2 T
    #10ILL 36 3975
    #25MSU 35 3368

    Top Performers

    Illinois: D. Brown 20 Pts, 2 Reb, 4 Ast, 2 Stl

    Michigan State: P. Davis 21 Pts, 14 Reb, 1 Ast, 2 Stl, 2 Blk

    Illini end regular season with win over Spartans

    EAST LANSING, Mich. (AP) -- Dee Brown opened and closed the Big Ten regular season with sensational performances against Michigan State.

    Brown scored 16 of his 20 points after halftime and made two 3-pointers during a 12-0 run midway through the second half to lift No. 10 Illinois to a 75-68 victory over the Spartans (No. 23 ESPN/USA Today; No. 25 AP) on Saturday.

    "When I'm playing against them, I get a little more juiced," Brown acknowledged.

    The lightning quick point guard scored a career-high 34 points two months ago in the conference-opening victory over Michigan State.

    "Dee Brown killed us then, and Dee Brown killed us now," Michigan State coach Tom Izzo said.

    The Illini (25-5, 11-5 Big Ten) finished the regular season with five wins in six games and will share the conference title with Iowa and Ohio State if last-place Purdue upsets the Buckeyes on the road Sunday.

    "Crazy things can happen," Illinois coach Bruce Weber said. "It's our fault we're not in the lead of the league. We didn't take care of business, but we didn't sit back and pout."

    Illinois and Duke are the only schools with at least 25 victories the past six seasons.

    The Spartans (20-10, 8-8) lost five of their last seven, crumbling down the stretch in a season that started with them ranked fourth in the country and as favorites to win the Big Ten.

    "We've shown how good we can be, beating three top-10 teams," point guard Drew Neitzel said. "It's just a consistency thing with us."

    Michigan State's Paul Davis had 21 points and 14 rebounds, Shannon Brown scored 20 and Maurice Ager added 15 points.

    The Big Ten tournament starts Thursday, with the Spartans playing on the opening day for the first time after its first .500 record in the conference since the 1996-97 season.

    "I've got a worn-out team, so the break couldn't come at a better time," Izzo said.

    Brown broke a 48-all tie with a 3-pointer with 12:34 left. Teammate Jamar Smith followed with a pair of shots beyond the arc and Brown closed the decisive run with another 3-pointer with 8:47 to go.

    "Dee Brown took over," Izzo said. "He's the MVP of the league because he just makes plays.

    "Dee Brown is for them what Mateen Cleaves was for us. Some guys just have a will to win."

    The Spartans pulled within six points with four-plus minutes to go and again with 2:09 left, but gave up baskets to James Augustine on the ensuing possessions each time.

    Rich McBride and Shaun Pruitt each scored 12 for the Illini. Augustine and Smith added 10 points apiece for Illinois, which won its fifth straight against the Spartans.

    "Teams are not quite able to just lock in on Dee," Weber said. "We have other guys you have to think about."

    Michigan State's top three players were solid, but they didn't get much help with the rest of the team combining for just 12 points.

    The Spartans, already reeling in the frontcourt without power forward Matt Trannon because of a broken jaw, missed power forward Marquise Gray, who broke his right foot in the previous victory over Wisconsin.

    Michigan State is 111-9 at home since 1998-99 and lost for just the second time at the Breslin Center this season, sending out seniors such as Davis and Ager in a somber mood.

    "You put everything into a game and it comes out the way it does, that's a real low point," Davis said.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    Team Stat Comparison

    Points 75 68
    FG Made-Attempted 25-53 (.472) 22-48 (.458)
    3P Made-Attempted 10-20 (.500) 3-12 (.250)
    FT Made-Attempted 15-18 (.833) 21-28 (.750)
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 22 (0/0) 17 (0/0)
    Largest Lead 12 5

    2005-06 Season

    Jan 5, 2006 @ILL 60, MSU 50Recap
    » Mar 4, 2006 ILL 75, @MSU 68Recap
    Mar 10, 2006 MSU 61, @ILL 56Recap