By ERIC OLSON/AP Sports Writer
LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) – Keith Appling scored 16 points to go over 1,000 for his career and Adreian Payne added 15 points and 14 rebounds in eighth-ranked Michigan State’s 73-64 victory over Nebraska on Saturday night.
The win allowed Michigan State (22-4, 11-2) to remain tied with Indiana for first place in the Big Ten.
The Cornhuskers (12-14, 3-10), who have lost seven straight against opponents ranked in the top 10, never led but were within a point with 14 minutes left. The Spartans put away their fifth straight win with a 20-6 run.
Michigan State blocked a season-high 12 shots, with Branden Dawson matching his career high with four swats.
Gary Harris had 10 of his 14 points in the second half and Derrick Nix had 13 points and 11 rebounds.
Appling did most of his scoring from the free-throw line, making 9 of 10 as the Spartans finished a two-game season sweep of the Huskers.
Dylan Talley scored 19 of his 28 points in the second half and Shavon Shields had all 19 of his after half for the Huskers.
Shields last basket, a 3-pointer with 46 seconds left, cut Michigan State’s lead to 68-61. But it wasn’t enough to overcome the Spartans’ big run after Nebraska had gotten within 41-40.
Appling became the 29th MSU player to score 1,000 points in his first three seasons and the 43rd overall to reach the milestone.
Nebraska came into the game having defeated at least one ranked opponent at the Devaney Sports Center in 19 of the past 22 seasons, and 11 of the last 12.
The Huskers had the home crowd thinking it might happen against the Spartans after Shields got hot early in the second half. He scored 12 of the Huskers’ first 16 points after halftime, keeping them in it with a couple 3-pointers and then hitting a jumper to make it 41-40 with 14 minutes to play.
The Huskers had a chance to take the lead after Harris missed. But Ray Gallegos was off with his 3, and Appling made a couple free throws to put the Spartans up by three.
Payne and Matt Costello blocked shots by Brandon Ubel on consecutive Nebraska possessions, and Payne and Nix scored inside to finish a 12-2 spurt that restored MSU’s double-digit lead.
Nebraska trailed just 29-24 at half despite shooting 32 percent and getting outrebounded 24-10. The Huskers converted 10 Michigan State turnovers into 12 points, capitalizing on the Spartans’ sloppiness after they threatened to break open the game early.
The Spartans led 23-12 midway through the first half after Harris stole the ball at midcourt from Ubel and went in for a dunk.
The Huskers scored 12 of the next 16 points – nine off six MSU turnovers – to close to 27-24, with Talley firing in an awkward 3 off his right side as Payne pressured him.
The Huskers, in their final season playing in the Devaney Center, wore throwback jerseys from the 1976-77 season, their first in the building.
The game concluded the Huskers’ Legends Weekend, with nearly 30 former players introduced at halftime and two-time All-Big 12 player Tyronn Lue inducted into the Nebraska Basketball Hall of Fame.
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