He helped secure his first on Tuesday night.
Seniors Lourawls "Tum Tum" Nairn, Ben Carter and Gavin Schilling were inserted into the starting lineup alongside usual starters Miles Bridges and Josh Langford in No. 2 MSU's (27-3, 15-3 Big Ten) 81-61 win over IL (13-16, 3-13) Tuesday night at the Breslin Center, in what was the team's final home of the season.
The Fighting Illini played a good first half, making 6 of 11 from 3-point range, forcing seven Michigan State turnovers and only trailing by three at halftime, 38-35. With AP Photos.Miles Bridges scored 19 points, Joshua Langford had 16 and No. 2 Michigan State beat IL 81-61, sealing a share of the Big Ten championship. He hit four of MSU's 11 3-pointers. Neither team had a lead larger than eight points. He, too, could join Bridges as an early entrant in the National Basketball Association draft.
Cassius Winston scored 12 points, Jaren Jackson had eight points and five blocks and Kenny Goins added a season-high nine points.
For the Fighting Illini, Leron Black was the game's leading scorer with 20 points overall, while Trent Frazier had 14.
They can take the title outright with a win over Wisconsin on Sunday. The Buckeyes close their regular season on the road Friday at Indiana.
Michigan State has at least a piece of the Big 10 regular season championship.
With its win on January 7, Ohio State still holds a tie-breaker over the Spartans for the No. 1 seed for the upcoming Big Ten tournament in NY if they share the league title.
The opening half of the contest featured spurts by both teams.
It was also Michigan State's 11th straight victory as they have not lost a game since January 13, where the Spartans lost to their hated-rival, the Michigan Wolverines 82-72.
A trio of Spartans, including grad transfer Ben Carter, Gavin Schilling and Lourawls "Tum Tum" Nairn Jr. will all be honored in a ceremony immediately following tonight's game.
Now, the Spartans will attempt to win the whole thing. That included two for Bridges and once each for Langford and Jackson. The junior forward leads the team with 15.1 points and 5.5 rebounds per outing.
But the second half was all Michigan State. MSU got five of its points in the early run at the free-throw line. The duo also torched IL from the three-point range as Langford shot 3-of-4 from distance, while Bridges was 4-of-7.
If the Spartans can handle their business in the conference tournament, then they should set themselves up with a potential number one seed in the NCAA tournament.
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