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Archive for Monday, February 4, 2002

Top 25 Roundup: Spartans stomp Illinois, 67-61

Michigan State’s Taylor suffers concussion after banging head on court in second half

February 4, 2002

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— Marcus Taylor carried Michigan State in the first half, and the Spartans managed to carry on without him down the stretch.

Taylor, Michigan State's leading scorer, left Sunday's game against No. 12 Illinois with a concussion after banging his head on the court in the opening minutes of the second half.

Adam Ballinger took over and scored 18 points for Michigan State in a 67-61 victory over Illinois that ended the Illini's 28-game home winning streak.

"That was as big a win that we've had in a lot of years. We just played as good defensively as we can play," Michigan State coach Tom Izzo said.

Taylor, averaging 15.3 points, finished with 12 points on 4-for-7 shooting all in the first half. The sophomore got tangled up with Illinois forward Lucas Johnson and fell hard to the floor and hit his head.

Izzo said he was impressed with how his team responded in the final minutes without Taylor, something the Spartans have had little success doing this year. Michigan State (13-8, 4-4 Big Ten) has lost five games this season by five points or less.

"You have to have players make big plays down the stretch and we had players make big plays. I think our execution down the stretch was the best we've had all year," Izzo said.

Trailing by two points with four minutes to go, Ballinger made 5-of-6 free throws and scored seven points in the closing minutes to seal the win over Illinois (15-7, 4-5).

The Spartans got 13 points off the bench from Chris Hill, and Alan Anderson added 11 points.

Michigan State held Illinois to 39 percent shooting, clogging the middle and forcing the Illini to take long shots they weren't able to make. Illinois missed its last eight shots and dropped its third game in a row.

"We got some wide open looks. Cory (Bradford) and Sean (Harrington) both had wide open looks and just didn't knock them down," Illinois coach Bill Self said. "We missed some good ones."

Frank Williams finished with 19 points and Brian Cook had 22 points for Illinois.

Maryland 89, N.C. State 73

College Park, Md. For 30 minutes, North Carolina State appeared poised to end its long drought against Maryland. Then the Terrapins turned up their defense, leaving the Wolfpack to ponder yet another resounding defeat at Cole Field House.

Juan Dixon scored 27 points, including seven in a 16-2 second-half run that carried Maryland. Lonny Baxter had 16 points for the Ters, who kept pace with No. 1 Duke atop the Atlantic Coast Conference. Maryland (18-3, 8-1) is off to its best start in the ACC since 1980.

The Terrapins trailed 57-55 with 10:10 left before pulling away to their fifth straight victory and 10th in 11 games.

"It took better defense," said Dixon.

Dixon finished 7-for-15 from the field, sinking 5-for-8 from three-point range.

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