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Appling, Payne push No. 8 Michigan State past Nebraska

Lincoln, NE (Sports Network) - Keith Appling scored 16 points and Adreian Payne filled out the stat sheet with 15 points and 15 rebounds to help No. 8 Michigan State outlast Nebraska, 73-64, on Saturday.

Derrick Nix also registered a double-double with 13 points and 10 boards for the Spartans (22-4, 11-2 Big Ten), who have won five straight, including knocking off rival Michigan in convincing fashion on Tuesday. Freshman Gary Harris netted 14 points on 5-of-7 shooting from the floor in the victory.

Dylan Talley had a game-high 28 points and Shavon Shields scored all of his 19 points in the second half, to go along with 12 rebounds for the Cornhuskers (12-14, 3-10), who have lost two straight and four of their last five games overall.

Shields brought Nebraska within 41-40 on a jumper five-plus minutes into the second half, but that's the closest the Huskers would get. Michigan State then opened things up with a 12-2 surge capped off by Nix's layup with 8 1/2 minutes remaining making it 53-42.

The visitors continued to hold their double-digit lead as the game winded down, although Shields' 3-pointer from the right wing with just 46 seconds remaining briefly closed the deficit to 68-61. MSU, though, which finished the game hitting 23-of-29 from the charity stripe, closed the contest by connecting on 5-of-6 free throws to secure the victory.

Harris' dunk around the midway point of the first half increased MSU's opening edge to 23-12, but the home team utilized a 9-2 swing to get within 25-21 with three minutes remaining before halftime. Each team then registered just four points apiece to close the first half, and the Spartans took a 29-24 margin into the break.

It wasn't the best 20 minutes for either team shooting wise, as MSU connected on 11-of-27 field goals, compared to 9-of-28 for the 'Huskers.

Game Notes

Michigan State faces current No. 1, Indiana on Tuesday with first place up for grabs in the conference ... The visitors won the rebounding battle by a margin of 45-25 ... Appling made 9-of-10 from the free throw line and Payne made 7- of-8 ... Nebraska had just four other players reach the scoreboard, all combined for a total of 17 points.

02/16 23:23:07 ET