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.
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