CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (AP) - Malcolm Hill scored 22 points to lead Illinois to a 73-70 win over Michigan State on Wednesday night.
Michigan State had a chance to win the game in the last 10 second, but Miles Bridges missed a layup when Illinois' Te'Jon Lucas stripped the ball away.
Kipper Nichols made one of two free throws to give Illinois a 73-70 lead with three seconds left.
Lourawls Nairn Jr. attempted a 3-pointer with the game clock expiring, but the shot caromed off the backboard, securing the Illini win.
The Illini controlled the pace for what was a close game for much of the night - leading for 25:33.
Much of the success came from hot shooting. Illinois (18-12, 8-9 Big Ten) shot 45 percent from the field and 11-26 from 3-point range.
Leron Black added 15 points and seven rebounds.
Bridges led the way for Michigan State (18-12, 10-7 Big Ten) with 21 points.
Illinois made sure to capitalize on Michigan State mistakes, scoring 18 points from 15 Spartan turnovers.
Michigan State: Coach Tom Izzo can't be happy with his team, losing a game that it should've won. With a game left in the season, the Spartans are poised for strong runs in both the Big Ten and NCAA tournaments.
Illinois: The Illini won arguably their and Coach John Groce's most important game of the season. A win against Rutgers and a few more in the Big Ten Tournament might be enough for an NCAA Tournament berth and save Groce's job.
Michigan State ends the season with a road tilt at Maryland on Saturday.
Illinois travels to Rutgers on Saturday for its season finale.
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