Despite all the frustration in Illinois’ 81-72 loss to Michigan State, coach Brad Underwood took a nonchalant tone afterwards

“One of those nights,” Underwood said on Tuesday “We had to go for a I’m not disappointed I’m in a really great place”

The loss ended No 5 consecutive wins for Illinois and potentially pushed the Illini (16-6, 12-4) out of any realistic chance of catching Michigan (16-1, 11- 1) in the Big Ten standings Ayo Dosunmu only made 1 of 6 3-point throws, and Kofi Cockburn missed 8 of 11 free throws

Yeah He noted after the game that he expected the Spartans to ‘get rid of’ and challenge Illinois defensively He thought the Illini wouldn’t finish the regular season home stretch undefeated and said he felt encouraged he was able to cut a 19-point deficit to nine

As a top-five team on a hot streak, the Illini knew they were going to get the best shot from Michigan State – and all of its opponents.

Trent Frazier, who scored a high of 22 points, says the Illini have become their opponents’ Super Bowl”

“We had a hungry pit bull,” Frazier said of the Spartans “We knew what we were getting tonight They hit us in the mouth, and we didn’t come back (that) We just have to be better and move on to the next match “

The Illini let the physicality of the state of Michigan shake them up and they haven’t played with their usual defensive enthusiasm

The Spartans, led by Aaron Henry’s 20 points, outscored Illinois 38-34 in paint, blocked seven more shots and caught 16 offensive boards against the Illini’s eight

Illinois started the game weak, shooting 241% in the first half with eight turnovers For the game, the Illini made just 11 of 21 layups, missing a few undisputed

Free throws were also a thorn Illinois only scored 19 of 34, an obvious waste of potential points Cockburn struggled seriously, while Dosunmu only made 4 of 8 from the line

Illinois entered the game with 692% of the line, not exactly brilliant But Underwood said if the Illini could reach the line this frequently and take the shots they would be in a good position

The Illini are three games behind burning Michigan in the loss column, so it would take some end-of-season drama to make that happen now

Illinois didn’t seem too concerned about the Big Ten run after losing to Michigan State Frazier says the Illinis have bigger goals on the horizon

“Our vision is the national championship,” he said “Winning the Big Ten would have been great, of course My mindset is to continue to stay focused and to win as many games as possible We play for seeds (in the NCAA tournament) We’re trying to win a national championship That’s our main focus right now “

Michigan State (12-9, 6-9) tries to push late for 23rd consecutive NCAA tournament appearance Spartans have yet to play No 4 Ohio State, no 3 Michigan

“I’m really proud of this team,” coach Tom Izzo told reporters on Tuesday “They’ve been through hell and high water”

Underwood checked Dosunmu as he held his hand to his face in pain on the field He had just been run over under the basket by Mady Sissoko from Michigan State

“He’s fine”, said Frazier “Ayo is a competitor He didn’t come out of the game He wanted to finish the game He’s a winner”

Dosunmu’s struggles came before this play He finished with 17 points, nine rebounds and five assists, but the Michigan State defense put him to work Dosunmu shot 6 of 18 and made four turnovers

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Illinois Basketball

World News – USA – 3 takeaways from Illinois 81-72 loss to Michigan State which broke a streak of 7 consecutive victories: “We had to win one”