After being down 30-29 at halftime the No. 16 Michigan State Spartans (13-2, 2-0) took control in the second half over the Nebraska Cornhuskers (8-5, 0-2) to claim a 68-55 win. The Spartans couldn’t connect from beyond the arc in the first half, shooting 0-6. That quickly changed in the second half as the Spartans went 3-8 on three point attempts.
Tom Izzo didn't like the bench production, and played starters Draymond Green and Keith Appling for most of the game.
“I wasn’t pleased with some of the subs, so I played poor Draymond and Keith to death, which isn’t good.” Izzo said.
Green led the Spartans with 19 points and eight rebounds. MSU’s physical rebounding was too much for Nebraska as the Spartans had a 33-21 edge on the boards. Senior guard Austin Thornton came off the bench and was a pleasant surprise for the Spartans who needed as much offense as they could get. Thornton connected with two three-point shots, with the last one sealing the victory.
Senior Cornhusker Bo Spencer came off the bench and gave the Spartans trouble during the first half hitting a couple three pointers. Spencer ended the game with 15 points. The Spartans got sloppy with the ball late in the second half, which led to a Cornhusker rally that pulled the team within three points of the Spartans.
Sophomore guard Appling quieted the Cornhusker rally and the crowd by getting into the lane and drawing fouls. The Detroit native finished with 14 points and four assists. The Spartans shot 90 percent from the free-throw line, connecting on 19 of 21.
With the Spartans leaving Lincoln with a another victory, their winning streak stretches to 13. It also means a 2-0 start to the Big Ten season for their fifth straight year.
The Spartans travel to No. 11 Wisconsin next on Jan. 3; they have had very little success against Bo Ryan’s squad at Madison.