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Michigan State

No. 4 Michigan State Pushes Past Illinois, 78-62

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CHAMPAIGN, IL - JANUARY 18: Tracy Abrams #13 of the Illinois Fighting Illini collides with Denzel Valentine #45 of the Michigan State Spartans during the first half of the game at State Farm Center on January 18, 2014 in Champaign, Illinois. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)

CHAMPAIGN, IL – JANUARY 18: Tracy Abrams #13 of the Illinois Fighting Illini collides with Denzel Valentine #45 of the Michigan State Spartans during the first half of the game at State Farm Center on January 18, 2014 in Champaign, Illinois. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)

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DAVID MERCER, Associated Press

CHAMAPIGN, Ill. (AP) — Gary Harris scored 23 points and Denzel Valentine pulled down 11 rebounds to lead No. 4 Michigan State past Illinois 78-62 on Saturday.

The Spartans (17-1, 6-0 Big Ten) stayed on top of the Big Ten with their 10th straight win. After opening conference play 2-0, Illinois has now lost four in a row.

Michigan State owned the boards early against the Illini (13-6, 2-4), outrebounding them 24-10 over the first 20 minutes. The Spartans used that edge to open up a 10-point lead by halftime and held the Illini at arm’s length the rest of the night.

Valentine and Keith Appling each added 15 points for the Spartans.

Tracy Abrams led Illinois with 15 points.

The win moved Michigan State coach Tom Izzo past Illinois legend Lou Henson and into fourth on the list of career Big Ten wins with 215.

(© Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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