Jan. 31, 2013; East Lansing, MI, USA; Michigan State Spartans center Adreian Payne (5) drives to the basket against Illinois Fighting Illini forward Tyler Griffey (42) and Illinois Fighting Illini guard D.J. Richardson (1) during 2nd half at Jack Breslin Students Events Center. MSU won 80-75. Mandatory Credit: Mike Carter-USA TODAY Sports

Michigan State Spartans vs. Illinois Fighting Illini Halftime Score: 37-27, Illinois Lead

The Michigan State Spartans had a rough start against the Illinois Fighting Illini in the first half of their game tonight. The Illini took an early lead, quickly scoring two points and following with two three-pointers before Michigan State could get on the board. The Spartans have been running up and down the field, trying to keep up with shooting powerhouses Brandon Paul and D.J. Richardson.

The biggest problem in the first half has been the Spartans’ inability to keep the ball in their possession. Already, they have had 9 turnovers in the game, giving up the ball in 22% of their possessions. Part of the reason for this is they tend to score in the paint, so they have to work hard to get the ball there. The Illini have already scored 5 3-pointers, and that’s what the team is known for. It will be really important going into the second half that Michigan State both holds onto the ball and they stay on the lead scorers.

Too many times, Michigan State has let an Illini get past them to score in the paint unguarded. If they continue to do this, it is very likely that the team will have a further lead on the Spartans.

When the Spartans have scored, it has been very artful. Gary Harris has been very aggressive in the game thus far, and it’s looking like Payne is really getting his rhythm going.  He confidently sunk three following an attempted basket with a Branden Dawson finish. Dawson also cleaned up one of Derrick Nix’s missed baskets. Going forward, these guys will need to continue to be aggressive without fouling the other team.

Let’s rev up for the second half. You can bet Tom Izzo is giving the guys quite the talk in the locker room right now!

Go Green! Go White!

Tags: Basketball Illinois Fighting Illini Michigan State Spartans

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