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Spartans Upset Illinois, 68-65

February 03, 2003|From Associated Press

EAST LANSING, Mich. — The Michigan State Spartans sent a reminder to anyone who might have forgotten about them.

Paul Davis scored a career-high 15 points and Alan Anderson also had 15 as the Spartans rallied from a big first-half deficit to defeat No. 13 Illinois, 68-65, Sunday.

Michigan State (12-8 overall, 4-4 in the Big Ten) has won two straight -- both against ranked teams -- after losing six of eight in its worst slump since 1996-97, Tom Izzo's second season as coach.

"We're getting moved off the respirator," Izzo said. "We're still in the critical area, no doubt about that, but it's nice to feel good about yourself."

Michigan State trailed by 14 with two minutes left in the first half and won the game by outscoring the Illini, 9-3, over the final five minutes.

"We're on cloud nine, especially doing this after a great win against Indiana," Davis said. "Winning these two games is what we needed to prove to ourselves how good we are."

After beating the 19th-ranked Hoosiers on Tuesday night, Izzo proclaimed, "We ain't dead yet."

The Fighting Illini (15-4, 5-3) had won three straight and seven of nine. Brian Cook, who came in as the Big Ten's leading scorer, was held to 13 points in 22 minutes because of foul trouble. He picked up his fourth foul with 11:57 to play.

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