The Michigan State Spartans (17-5, 6-3 Big Ten) were held to a season-low in points on Tuesday night in a 42-41 loss to the Illinois Fighting Illini (16-6, 5-4 Big Ten) at Assembly Hall in Champaign.
More importantly, they lost a chance to take a share of the Big Ten lead.
Branden Dawson (12 points) was the only Spartan to score more than 7 points, Michigan State scored just three points in the final four minutes, and Derrick Nix made just 1-2 free throws with 14 seconds in regulation in an epic offensive struggle.
Rather than keep pace with the Ohio State Buckeyes in the Big Ten, the Spartans fell into a three-way tie for second place along with the Wisconsin Badgers and Michigan Wolverines.
Combining for 83 points, this marked the lowest-scoring game of the season for both teams.
The Spartans now get a few days off before a major showdown with in-state rival and No. 22 Wolverines (16-6, 6-3 Big Ten) on Sunday. That game, which will be televised on CBS, is scheduled to kick off at 1:00 p.m. eastern in East Lansing at Jack Breslin Student Events Center.
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