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Michigan State tops Nebraska
Posted By HOOPSWORLD On February 17, 2013 @ 1:57 am In Wirenews | Comments Disabled
by Joe Rexrode, USA TODAY Sports
LINCOLN, NEB. — Less energy was a given — teams play with the frenzy that gripped Michigan State against Michigan maybe two or three times a season.
It wasn’t a question of whether No. 8 MSU would let down Saturday at Nebraska after Tuesday’s 75-52 rout of No. 4 U-M. It was a question of how much, and how costly.
The answer: Enough to make things interesting well into the second half at rocking Devaney Center. But not enough to keep the Spartans from another Game of the Year.
It’ll be No. 1-ranked and first-place Indiana (23-3, 11-2 Big Ten) vs. first-place MSU (22-4, 11-2) at 7 p.m. Tuesday at Breslin Center. The Spartans will go for their third win in history against a No. 1 team after pulling away for a 73-64 win over the Cornhuskers (12-14, 3-10).
“It’s gonna take an incredible effort by the team, and by the fans,” Izzo said of Tuesday’s game, which will also feature Earvin “Magic” Johnson on color commentary for ESPN.
Izzo said he feared Saturday from the time the U-M game ended because “this team is not mature enough, I learned this week.”
But it was good enough to overcome Tim Miles’ well-coached, undermanned, gritty Huskers and an engaged crowd of 11,947.
MSU’s lead was just 41-40 with less than 13 minutes to play, and it looked like the Spartans might be in trouble against a team that made an upset bid Jan. 13 at Breslin Center before falling 66-56.
But MSU cranked up the defense, went on a 12-2 run from there and was never seriously threatened again. Keith Appling scored 16 to lead the Spartans, becoming the 43rd player in MSU history to reach 1,000 career points.
In the second half, Adreian Payne had 13 of his 15 points, Gary Harris had 10 of his 14 and Derrick Nix had 11 of his 13. Payne also had a career-high 14 rebounds and Nix grabbed 11 to lead the Spartans to a dominating 42-24 effort on the glass.
This came two days after former Spartan Draymond Green visited practice and “posted us up” on MSU’s so-so rebounding this season, Nix … [For more on No. 8 Michigan State Spartans top Nebraska Cornhuskers, click here.]
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