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On Saturday, Illinois defeated Tom Izzo’s Michigan State Spartans, 79-74, and the weight of the back-to-back loss triggered Izzo in the postgame.
Michigan State lost a rallying effort after dropping 12 points before halftime, which added to HC Izzo’s frustration.
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The Spartans coach hit the officials for skipping the whistle with Illinois while MSU was given a stray foul or two.
“I’m fed up with the refereeing, the consistency,” admitted Izzo from the podium. “I’ll just give you an example: their guys go down, we go down, they stop; my guy goes down, Malik Hall, they go down, they let play.”
“I’m sick of it. I’m sick of this and the inconsistencies inside.”
Spartans point guard Tyson Walker helped fuel their delayed rally; scoring 24 points in the half. Guard AJ Hoggard helped elevate MSU within reach. He contributed 15 points, including nine in the second half, but the Spartans still fell to Illinois.
Officiating issues or not, the Spartans fell victim to reckless turnovers (11 total) and a lack of planning to stop Illinois’ Kofi Cockburn, who scored 27 points and grabbed nine rebounds in 31 minutes of play. Fighting Illini forward Jacob Grandison also had 24 points, five assists and five rebounds.
Their resilient performance in the fourth quarter was a spark of positive potential, in contrast to the Spartans’ lukewarm threat this season.
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MSU fell to 18-8 on the year (9-6 conference), slipping down the Big Ten standings.