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Illinois beats No. 18 Michigan State 53-46 with struggling Spartans finally at full strength

  • Illinois Michigan St Basketball-1.jpg

    Illinois' Tracy Abrams (13) dishes off against Michigan State's Gavin Schilling, right, and Adreian Payne during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game, Saturday, March 1, 2014, in East Lansing, Mich. (AP Photo/Al Goldis)The Associated Press

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    Illinois' Rayvonte Rice, left, gets a steal against Michigan State's Branden Dawson during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game, Saturday, March 1, 2014, in East Lansing, Mich. (AP Photo/Al Goldis)The Associated Press

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    Michigan State's Branden Dawson (22) shoots against Illinois' Malcolm Hill, rear, to score Michigan State's first points during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game, Saturday, March 1, 2014, in East Lansing, Mich. (AP Photo/Al Goldis)The Associated Press

Tracy Abrams scored 12 points, leading Illinois to a 53-46 win over No. 18 Michigan State on Saturday.

The Fighting Illini (17-12, 6-10 Big Ten) have three straight victories for the first time since winning four in a row from Dec. 21 to Jan. 4. That successful stretch included a win over then-No. 23 Missouri.

The Spartans (22-7, 11-5) have dropped two straight and six of their last 10 games. They were full strength for the first time in nearly two months, but simply weren't good enough to beat a streaking team that seemed more inspired.

Branden Dawson returned from a broken hand and played for the first time since Jan. 21, when he helped Michigan State beat Indiana to improve to 18-1 overall and 7-0 in conference.

Michigan State's Gary Harris had 19 points.