Michigan State vs Nebraska

No. 16 Mich. St. wins 13th straight

CBSSports.com wire reports

LINCOLN, Neb. -- Michigan State coach Tom Izzo isn't ready to call his team great after its 13th straight win.

But he said the 16th-ranked Spartans showed they might be moving in that direction after beating Nebraska 68-55 on Saturday in a game that seemed closer than the score.

The Spartans toughed this one out after being confounded for long stretches by the Cornhuskers' defense and squandering most of a 15-point lead in the second half.

Draymond Green scored 19 points and Keith Appling had eight of his 14 in the last 7 minutes for Michigan State.

"We dealt with adversity three or four times, withstood it and I thought we did execute once they cut that 15-point lead down and Appling made some plays," Izzo said. "Sad to say, we didn't play real well. I think they had something to do with it. I was not disappointed in our effort. I was disappointed in our execution at times."

The Spartans (13-2, 2-0 Big Ten) are on their longest winning streak since the 1998-99 team won 22 straight. Eleven of the 13 have been by double digits.

Michigan State finished on a 15-5 run after Nebraska (8-5, 0-2) pulled within 53-50.

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The Spartans won the game at the free throw line, making 19 of 21. Green hit all nine of his free throws.

"It's our first Big Ten road game," Green said. "Guys didn't know what to expect. That's my job, to pick games up, to help pick those guys up."

Bo Spencer scored 15 points and Toney McCray added 14 for the Huskers, who shot 36 percent from the field and were outrebounded 38-24.

The Huskers made just one field goal over the last 6:48, and none after Austin Thornton made a 3-pointer to give the Spartans a 62-55 lead with 3:16 left.

"I couldn't be prouder of my team," Nebraska coach Doc Sadler said. "I thought they competed. I thought we played as hard as you can play, and I thought we did it for 40 minutes."

Michigan State has won its first two Big Ten games for the fifth straight season. Nebraska is in the middle of a stretch of eight games in which six opponents are ranked in the Top 25.

The Spartans proved too powerful inside against a Nebraska team that was without 6-foot-11 center Jorge Brian Diaz (sore feet) for a fourth straight game. The Huskers also were missing their fourth-leading scorer, guard Dylan Talley (thigh bruise).

The Huskers still turned in a game effort.

The slow-starting Spartans missed 8 of their first 9 shots, never led in the first half and were down 30-29 at the break. But 6½ minutes into the second half they were up by 15 points and looked ready to run away with the game.

"We tried to open the wing because they were trapping us so much," Izzo said. "We freed Keith up and he had a couple of those drives."

Nebraska didn't fold. Michigan State went 4½ minutes without a field goal, Spencer's 3-pointer finished a 16-4 run that pulled the Huskers to 53-50 with under 9 minutes to play.

Appling scored six straight points to build the Spartans' lead to 59-50, but Nebraska came back again. McCray hit a 3-pointer and Spencer made two free throws to make it 59-55 with 4:01 left.

Nebraska's offense stalled after Thornton's 3-pointer gave the Spartans a seven-point lead. Caleb Walker missed a 3 from the corner, Brandon Richardson committed a turnover and Green blocked Walker's 3-point try.

The Spartans didn't take their first lead until their opening possession of the second half, when Appling drove the lane to start a 18-4 run.

The Huskers opened the game much the way they did on Tuesday against No. 11 Wisconsin, when they carried the play before getting worn down and losing 64-40.

"I wasn't for sure that our team competed for 40 minutes against Wisconsin," Sadler said. "I thought we got down and frustrated. Tonight for 40 minutes our guys played as hard as they can play."

Spencer's consecutive 3-pointers gave the Huskers a 12-4 lead 5 minutes in, and Michigan State missed eight of its first nine shots on its way to 39-percent first-half shooting.

"You've got a hell of a coach, because the guy did a lot better job than I did today," Izzo said. "His team played as hard as anybody we've played. Give credit to Doc on that. Early they were swarming, they were moving."

Michigan State kept it close the first half largely because of its 22-10 rebounding advantage, including a 9-1 advantage on the offensive end.

Appling said the winning streak is the furthest thing from his mind. After all, the Spartans are on the road again on Tuesday at No. 11 Wisconsin, which is coming off a loss at home to Iowa.

"We've just got to keep on playing," Appling said. "That [win streak] really doesn't mean anything. We've just got to keep going."

Copyright 2017 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
Adreian Payne and the Spartans' defense holds Nebraska to just 36 percent shooting. (AP)
Adreian Payne and the Spartans' defense holds Nebraska to just 36 percent shooting. (AP)
Michigan State #16 (13-2) «293968
Nebraska (8-5)302555
MIST:D. Green 19 Pts
MIST:D. Green 8 Reb
MIST:K. Appling 4 Ast
NE:B. Spencer 15 Pts
NE:T. McCray 6 Reb
NE:B. Richardson 6 Ast

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Michigan StateNebraska
Draymond Green
Toney McCray
Michigan State Spartans
D. Green, F394-119-980319
B. Wood, G343-81-22217
K. Appling, G325-104-414214
B. Dawson, F192-50-03004
A. Payne, C182-41-15045
A. Thornton, G222-24-43109
D. Nix, C204-70-17108
T. Trice, G121-30-01242
A. Gauna, F20-00-01010
B. Kearney, G20-00-02000
A. Ianni, CDid Not Play
R. Byrd, GDid Not Play
D. Chapman, GDid Not Play
K. Wetzel, GDid Not Play
J. Sweeny, GDid Not Play
C. Wollenman, FDid Not Play
Totals 23-5019-2133101568
Nebraska Cornhuskers
C. Walker, G353-82-33109
B. Ubel, F324-71-11029
B. Richardson, G291-53-45645
T. McCray, G245-102-361514
J. Moore, G90-10-00120
B. Spencer, G324-154-422115
C. Niemann, C140-20-03040
M. Fox, G101-10-00003
C. Hilliard, G100-00-01100
D. Rivers, G50-10-00000
D. Talley, GDid Not Play
J. Diaz, CDid Not Play
R. Gallegos, GDid Not Play
A. Almeida, CDid Not Play
K. Kurkowski, CDid Not Play
T. Menke, GDid Not Play
J. Tyrance, FDid Not Play
M. Parker, FDid Not Play
Totals 18-5012-1521121855
Big Ten
TeamConf. W-LTot. W-LRPI Rank
Michigan St.10-820-1550
Ohio St.7-1117-1590
Penn St.6-1215-18101

Big 12
TeamConf. W-LTot. W-LRPI Rank
W. Virginia12-628-924
Iowa St.12-624-1121
Oklahoma St.9-920-1340
Kansas St.8-1021-1457
Texas Tech6-1218-14123
Other games
St John's 69 Final
UConn 83
Louisville 62 Final
Kentucky 69
Iowa 72 Final
Wisc 65
YALE 70 Final
Florida 90
PROV 40 Final
Utah St 64 Final
Miss St 66
St Joe's 69 Final
NDK 58 Final
Kansas 84
Ohio St 70 Final
Indiana 74
CREI 68 Final
Wich St 61
UNLV 74 Final
Hawaii 69