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Illini less inept than Spartans

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — In a game in which neither team made one-third of its shots, it seemed right the deciding free throws would be followed by more misses.

Brandon Paul made two free throws that gave Illinois the lead with 45 seconds to play then missed two 1-and-1s in the Illini's 42-41 win over No. 9 Michigan State on Tuesday night.

The shooting — 32.6 percent for Illinois and 24.1 percent for Michigan State — was so bad that players suggested the ball may have had too much air in it.

"Someone brought it up to the refs," Paul said. "I'm not trying to make excuses. I missed those free throws, I shouldn't be missing those shots."

The Illini ended a three-game skid, a run that had coach Bruce Weber resorting to prayer. "When the shots go up, I just say, 'Please, God, let it go in,' " Weber said. "Some of the shots just sat in there and then popped out."

The Spartans (17-5, 6-3) missed a chance to move into first in the Big Ten with No. 3 Ohio State.

Spartans forward Draymond Green spent much of the game on the bench with foul trouble then was helped from the court with what appeared to be a left knee injury with just less than four minutes to play. He didn't return.

NO. 1 KENTUCKY 69, TENNESSEE 44: Freshman Anthony Davis had 18 points, eight rebounds and seven blocks for the Wildcats (22-1, 8-0 SEC), who hit their first 11 shots and won their 48th straight home game.

NO. 5 UNC 68, WAKE 53: Tyler Zeller had 18 points and a career-best 18 rebounds to help the visiting Tar Heels (19-3, 6-1 ACC) overcome 31 percent shooting.

NO. 15 MARQUETTE 66, SETON HALL 59: Jae Crowder had 20 points and 12 rebounds, helping the host Golden Eagles (19-4, 8-2 Big East) rally from a sluggish first half.

NO. 16 VIRGINIA 65, CLEMSON 61: Mike Scott scored 23, including four free throws over the final 16.8 seconds, as the host Cavaliers (18-3, 5-2 ACC) rallied behind a 19-3 second-half run.

NO. 19 WISCONSIN 52, PENN ST. 46: Jordan Taylor scored 18, including a key 3-pointer from the top of key with 1:44 left, to help the visiting Badgers (18-5, 7-3 Big Ten) overcome an early nine-point deficit.

ARKANSAS 82, NO. 25 VANDY 74: Ricky Scott had 18 points, and the host Razorbacks equaled their SEC record with nine 3-pointers in pulling away from the Commodores (16-6, 5-2).

FINE INVESTIGATION: An affidavit filed in a slander suit against Syracuse and coach Jim Boeheim says the wife of fired assistant Bernie Fine had sex with players, and several people associated with the program knew about it, including Fine. In the affidavit, Bobby Davis, a former ball boy, says that several times he heard players speak of having sex with Laurie Fine. A lawyer for Laurie Fine said the accusations were "disgusting."

CLEMSON: Forward Milton Jennings was suspended indefinitely for academic reasons.

Women

NO. 2 NOTRE DAME 71, NO. 13 RUTGERS 41: Skylar Diggins scored 18 for the visiting Irish (22-1, 9-0 Big East), who routed the Scarlet Knights (17-5, 6-3) for their 19th straight victory.

DEPAUL 86, NO. 14 LOUISVILLE 61: Anna Martin had 19 points and Katherine Harry a career-high 20 rebounds as the host Blue Demons snapped a three-game winning streak by the Cardinals (17-5, 6-3 Big East).

Illini less inept than Spartans 01/31/12 [Last modified: Tuesday, January 31, 2012 11:56pm]

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