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Gophers stumble at Michigan State

Associated Press

EAST LANSING, Mich. -- Tom Izzo isn't ready to say that Michigan State is in a great position to make the NCAA tournament.

Izzo did admit that the Spartans 74-55 win over Minnesota on Thursday helped.

"This was a step in the right direction, I don't think there's any question," Izzo said. "We played a team that is in the same situation we're in. Winning games like this is big, and important.

"I don't think we've taken control of the situation, I think we still have to win a couple more games."

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Adam Ballinger had 20 points and nine rebounds and Chris Hill added 15 as the Spartans (16-10, 7-6 Big Ten) won their second in a row and five of seven. They also have four wins over ranked teams, including double-digit victories over No. 6 Oklahoma and No. 14 Arizona.

The Gophers (14-10, 7-6) have fallen from contending for the Big Ten title to a fifth-place tie, with three consecutive losses.

Minnesota's Dusty Rychart and Kerwin Fleming scored 13 each.

Summary, standings, Page 2D

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