"I have run out of ways to say no good."
These are the words of ESPN announcer Mike Tirico late in the second half during the Illinois' upset victory over No. 10 Michigan State 42-41 at Assembly Hall, and he wasn't being overly dramatic. Illinois' victory is huge for the team's tournament chances, but it certainly wasn't pretty. The Illini shot just 15-of-46 (32 percent) from the field, but Michigan State (14-of-58 for 24 percent) was even worse. The game might have been hard to watch, but Illinois will obviously take the victory, which propels Bruce Weber's crew to 16-6 overall and 5-4 in the Big 10.
Brandon Paul turned it on in the second half and willed Illinois to the victory. As the only Illini player to reach double-figures scoring, Paul put up 18 points (on 6-of-17 shooting). nine rebounds, and five assists. Fellow junior guard D.J. Richardson scored nine. The two players combined to go 2-for-12 on three-point attempts. As a team, the Illini shot just 17 percent from downtown. Star center Meyers Leonard scored just four points.
Freshman wing Branden Dawson starred for the Spartans, scoring a team-high 12 points and finishing with 13 rebounds.
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