Appling scores 16 as Michigan State tops Nebraska
Huskers hang but eventually Spartans pull away
Michigan State survived its trap game.
Four days after its waxing of instate rival and fourth-ranked Michigan, and three days before facing top-ranked Indiana, the Spartans won on the road against the Big Ten's 11th-place team.
Keith Appling scored 16 points and No. 8 Michigan State, leading by one point six minutes into the second half, pulled away to defeat Nebraska 73-64 on Saturday night at the Devaney Sports Center.
Michigan State (22-4, 11-2 Big Ten) exerted its size to outrebound Nebraska 42-24, with Adreian Payne collecting 13 rebounds. Payne, a 6-foot-10, 240-pound forward, also scored 15 points for his first double-double since Dec. 15.
Dylan Talley scored a career-high 28 points, and Shavon Shields had 19 points and 13 rebounds to lead Nebraska (12-14, 3-10). Shields's double-double was the first of the freshman guard's career.
The Huskers, finishing a stretch playing four of five games against ranked teams, were coming off a 29-point loss Wednesday at top-ranked Indiana, a game it had within single digits to start the second half.
Nebraska hung closer, and longer, against Michigan State, a team that defeated the Huskers by 10 points in East Lansing earlier in February. But Nebraska, which started the second half shooting 57.1 percent from the field, couldn't keep pace with Michigan State.
Shields hit five of his first seven shots to start the second half, when he scored all 12 of his points. His long jumper with 14:16 remaining had Nebraska within 41-40.
Michigan State then assumed control with a 20-6 run that lasted until the final minutes. The Spartans led by as many as 15 points.
Gary Harris added 14 points and Derrick Nix scored 13 for Michigan State, which shot 51 percent from the field and was 23 of 29 on free throws.
Ray Gallegos, who averages 13 points per game and is Nebraska's second-leading scorer this season, was scoreless on 0-of-13 shooting from the field, including 0 of 10 on 3-pointers.
Michigan State led 29-24 at halftime after leading by as many as 11 points.
Nebraska was within one point when the Spartans went on a 13-3 run to take a 23-12 lead with 9:12 remaining.
Denzel Valentine came off the bench and scored five points in that run, and Harris capped it by getting a steal at midcourt, resulting in an easy dunk.
A free throw by Gallegos and 3-pointers by Brandon Ubel and Talley helped Nebraska pull to 23-19 with 4:40 remaining.
Talley had another 3-pointer when he simply threw the ball in the air, hoping to draw a foul. He didn't, but the ball fell through the hoop to cut Michigan State's lead to 27-24.
Matt Costello scored Michigan State's final points before half on an easy basket underneath.
The Spartans had 10 turnovers in the first half but held Nebraska to 9-of-28 shooting from the field and outrebounded the Huskers 22-10.
NOTES: Boston Celtics assistant coach Tyronn Lue, an 11-year NBA veteran who led Nebraska to its last NCAA Tournament appearance in 1998, was inducted into Nebraska's basketball Hall of Fame at halftime. ... Michigan State leads the Big Ten in steals at 8.7 per game, marking the first time since 1998 the Spartans have led the conference in that category. ... Ubel picked up his 500th career rebound in the first half.
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