Despite strong performances from Shavon Shields and Dylan Talley, the Nebraska basketball team was unable to topple No. 8 Michigan State, falling to the Spartans, 73-64, Saturday evening at the Devaney Center.
Shields posted his first career double-double, scoring 19 points and grabbing a career-high 13 rebounds, while Talley scored a game-high 28 points, but Michigan State’s balance was too much on this evening.
Four Spartans reached double figures, including double-doubles by both Adreian Payne (15 points, 14 rebounds) and Derrick Nix (13 points, 11 rebounds).
MSU, which improved to 22-4 and 11-2 in the Big Ten, held Nebraska to just 35.5 percent shooting and out-rebounded Nebraska, 42-24. Keith Appling led MSU with 13 points and four assists while Gary Harris added 15 points on 5-of-6 shooting, while Payne keyed the decisive second-half run to break open a one-point game.
Nebraska (12-14, 3-10 Big Ten) trailed 29-24 at the break, but rallied behind Shields, who scored 12 of the Huskers first 16 second-half points to cut the lead to 41-40 with 14:17 left. Payne, who had just two points in the first half, scored six of his 15 points in a 16-4 Spartan run to put Michigan State up 57-44 with 6:25 left.
The Huskers were down 65-51 with 1:34 left, but Talley and Shields led Nebraska on a 10-3 surge to pull within 68-61 with 57 seconds left. MSU held the Huskers off at the foul line, going 18-of-24 from the line in the final 20 minutes, while NU got to the line just 13 times on the night.
Shields became the first Husker freshman since Aleks Maric in 2005 to record a double-double, while Talley’s 28 points topped his previous career best of 27 set against Kent State on Nov. 24. The senior went 8-of-16 from the floor, including four 3-pointers. The Huskers were just 8-of-24 from 3-point range, as MSU held Ray Gallegos without a 3-pointer. Gallegos entered the night leading the Big Ten with 2.5 3-pointers per game.
In the first half, MSU used a 13-3 run to take control, building its largest lead of the half at 23-12 after a Gary Harris steal and dunk forced NU to take a timeout. Nebraska fought right back with a 7-0 run, including 3-pointers from Brandon Ubel and Talley to cut the lead to four. Nebraska, which shot just 32 percent in the first half and was out-rebounded 24-10, forced 10 Spartan turnovers in the first half and that led to 12 Husker points.
Nebraska returns to action Thursday night, as the Huskers host the Iowa Hawkeyes. Tickets are available for the matchup by calling 800-8-BIGRED or by visiting Huskers.com.