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Long Shots Are Best Shots for Illinois in a 77-66 Win

February 07, 2001|From Associated Press

Cory Bradford got tired of being kicked around by Michigan State.

On Tuesday night, he kicked back.

After struggling all season to find his shot while playing with a gimpy knee, the preseason conference player of the year scored 22 points Tuesday night in helping seventh-ranked Illinois defeat the fourth-ranked Spartans, 77-66, at Champaign, Ill., to take over first place in the Big Ten Conference.

Bradford made six three-point shots and the Illini finished with 10 for their first victory over the Spartans since 1998.

"These guys have been kicking our butts the last couple years," Bradford said. "They've been the team to beat in the Big Ten. We felt it was our time to take over."

Michigan State, 18-3 overall and 7-3 in the Big Ten, is not ready to concede the conference championship even though Coach Tom Izzo did concede that Illinois (18-5, 8-2) outplayed the Spartans on Tuesday night.

"We're going to try to win the next six," Izzo said. "We've been in this position before. I don't think the Big Ten is won in one game. This team has some young players and they have to grow and realize one, two or three mistakes can cost you a game."

Michigan State made only three of 18 three-point shots, most of the misses coming during two lengthy runs by the Illini to finish each half. But Izzo said the Spartans lost because of "complete mental breakdowns" on defense, especially against Bradford.

"We had some defensive lapses and you can't leave him open. . . . It takes a lot out of you," Spartan guard Charlie Bell said. "He was knocking down every shot he took, even with a hand in his face."

Illinois also got 14 points from Frank Williams and 12 from Brian Cook. Jason Richardson led Michigan State with 19 points and Bell scored 14.

No. 1 North Carolina 80, No. 19 Wake Forest 74--Joseph Forte scored 24 points to lead the Tar Heels (20-2, 10-0) over the Demon Deacons (15-7, 4-6) in an Atlantic Coast Conference game at Winston-Salem, N.C.

The victory extended North Carolina's NCAA record of consecutive 20-win seasons to 31 as the Tar Heels also notched their 17th consecutive victory despite 20 turnovers.

Kentucky 71, No. 8 Florida 70--Tayshaun Prince made a running hook shot in the lane with 3.3 seconds remaining to lift the Wildcats (14-7, 7-2) over the Gators (15-5, 5-4) in a Southeastern Conference game at Lexington, Ky.

The victory was the Wildcats' fourth in a row and strengthened their hold on first place in the league's Eastern Division.

Prince led Kentucky with 19 points. Gerald Fitch added 12 and Jason Parker had 10 for the Wildcats, who have won 11 of their last 13 games since an uncharacteristic 3-5 start.

Georgia Tech 72, No. 13 Maryland 62--Tony Akins scored 28 points to lead the Yellow Jackets (13-8, 5-5) over the Terrapins (15-7, 6-4) in an ACC game at Atlanta.

The surprising Yellow Jackets posted their third victory against a ranked opponent and matched both their overall and conference victories for last season.


Connecticut 83, Providence 68--Albert Mouring scored 19 points and the Huskies (15-7, 4-5) ended the Big East game with a 29-9 run to defeat the Friars (16-6, 7-3) at Hartford, Conn.

Villanova 80, Penn 51--Gary Buchanan broke the Division I record for consecutive free throws in helping the Wildcats (13-8) defeat the Quakers (7-12) at Philadelphia.

Buchanan, a sophomore guard, made two free throws with 4:46 to play, giving him 65 in a row to break the mark of 64 set by Joe Dykstra of Western Illinois in the 1981-82 season.

Minnesota 66, Northwestern 59--John-Blair Bickerstaff suffered a broken right leg for the second consecutive year but his replacement, Travarus Bennett, had 16 points and 11 rebounds to lead the Gophers (16-7, 4-6) over the Wildcats (8-15, 0-10) in a Big Ten game at Evanston, Ill.

Bickerstaff, the son of former NBA coach Bernie Bickerstaff, was trying to block forward Ben Johnson's layup with 17:18 remaining in the first half when he landed awkwardly. As he crumpled to the ground, his right kneecap was pushed up, leaving a gaping cavity between the knee and his right shin bone.

The injury was so gruesome that ESPN2 wouldn't show it on replay.

Illinois State 81, Bradley 62--Tarise Bryson scored 27 points to lead the Redbirds (16-4, 8-3) over the Braves (13-8, 8-4) in a Missouri Valley Conference game at Normal, Ill.

The victory gave the Redbirds a share of the conference lead with Indiana State.

Dayton 89, Massachusetts 76--Yuanta Holland scored 18 points and Tony Stanley 17 to lead the Flyers (14-9, 5-5) over the Minutemen (10-11, 8-2) in an Atlantic 10 game at Dayton, Ohio.

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