Mayer, Dainja lift Illini to B1G win over Michigan State

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — Brad Underwood lengthy has praised Scott Drew‘s program, and through the offseason, he stole a number of items from Baylor’s championship crew. On Friday, two Baylor transfers led Illinois to its finest Big Ten win of the season thus far.

Baylor switch Matthew Mayer scored 14 of his 19 factors within the second half — together with a 10-point spurt throughout a key 18-4 run to lead Illinois to a 75-66 win over Michigan State. Mayer additionally had a career-high six blocks.

Meanwhile, Baylor transferred Dain Dainja scored 20 factors for the Illini, together with 12 within the second half, and had seven rebounds to assist Illinois (12-5, 3-3 Big Ten) fight Michigan State’s energy within the publish to snap the Spartans’ seven-game successful streak.

Terrence Shannon added 17 factors for Illinois, which has received three straight video games after an 0-3 begin.

AJ Hoggard led Michigan State (12-5, 4-2 Big Ten) with 20 factors, and Tyson Walker had 14 factors. But the Spartans failed to make a 3-pointer (0-for-7), whereas Illinois shot 6 of 18 from three.

Shannon obtained Illinois off to a sizzling begin by scoring 15 factors within the first 10 minutes, however Michigan State went on an 8-0 run to take a 25-19 lead. Illinois responded with a 7-0 run of its lead to take a 26-25 lead, however MSU made its personal response with a 10-2 run to take a 35-28 lead and ultimately a 37-33 halftime lead.

The Spartans constructed a 50-41 early second-half lead earlier than Mayer keyed the 18-4 run, highlighted by his two 3-pointers. Michigan State tied the sport 60-60 after two Hoggard jumpers and a Walker jumper. But the Illini regained the lead on a Coleman Hawkins 3-pointer and a Dainja putback. Michigan State obtained inside 67-64, however Illinois then went on an 8-2 run to shut the sport, highlighted by a Coleman Hawkins outback and a Jayden Epps driving layup

What it means: The Illini seem to have definitively put a vacation season droop behind them. After a month of trying disjointed, the Illini have coalesced and are beginning to seem like the potential Big Ten contender and Sweet Sixteen risk Brad Underwood envisioned when he pieced collectively this roster through the offseason. An 0-3 gap is hard to overcome, however the Illini are displaying the toughness, resilience, connectedness and now consistency to put collectively a possible run right here within the Big Ten.

Star of the sport: Dainja and Mayer break up the honors right here. Dainja was constantly good all through the sport and helped the Illini fight an in any other case drawback within the publish for a lot of the night time. Mayer’s frantic fury of factors and rim safety modified the sport. Mayer could be a little bit of a rollercoaster, however his scorcher spurts have led Illinois to two of their finest wins of the season: Texas and Michigan State.

Stats of the sport

  • Illinois had a season-low 5 turnovers, and Illinois outscored Michigan State 8-4 on factors off turnovers.
  • Illinois outscored Michigan State 18-0 on 3-pointers.
  • Illinois had 10 blocks, whereas Michigan State had two blocks.
  • Michigan State outrebounded Illinois 42-30.
  • Michigan State outscored Illinois within the paint 44-38, however Illinois outscored Michigan State within the paint 24-16 within the second half.
  • Michigan State outscored Illinois on second-chance factors 16-8.

Don’t overlook: Illinois had a season-low 5 turnovers. The Illini have had three of their 4 lowest turnover video games over the last three video games, which isn’t solely necessary to their offense however for his or her protection as a result of it limits fastbreak alternatives for the opponent. Illini opponents have simply 9 fastbreak factors over the last three video games.

What’s subsequent: Illinois heads to Minnesota on Monday for a Martin Luther King Jr. Day matinee tipoff at 5 pm (BTN) at Williams Arena. The Gophers (7-8, 1-4 Big Ten) are tied for final place within the Big Ten however received their first convention recreation on Thursday with a 70-67 dwelling victory over Ohio State. The Gophers rank eighth within the Big Ten throughout convention play in offensive effectivity and 14th (final) throughout convention play in defensive effectivity. Dawson Garcia leads Minnesota with 15.5 factors and 6.7 rebounds, whereas Jamison Battle (13.7 factors) and Ta’lon Cooper averages 10.7 factors.

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