The Spartans (24-7, 13-5) were eliminated from Big Ten title contention early in their game when Indiana beat Michigan, and Michigan State struggled to put away the undermanned Wildcats.
The No. 10 Spartans can achieve that feat for the fourth time in five years by getting some help, then handing visiting Northwestern an eighth straight defeat in Sunday night’s regular-season finale.
Michigan State led 36-27 after a Payne jumper from the left baseline early in the second half, all but quieting the crowd.
Trailing by three with 3.7 seconds left, MSU’s Gary Harris was fouled on a 3-point attempt.
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 eighth-ranked Spartans look to keep pace atop the rugged Big Ten by earning a second straight season sweep of the host Cornhuskers on Saturday night.
Four Spartans were in double figures helping Michigan State rout the Michigan Wolverines 75-52 on Tuesday night.
Of all the previews I read about the Michigan-Michigan State game, not a single one had #8 MSU putting on an offensive explosion and blowing #4 Michigan off the floor.
The Boilermakers couldn’t even take advantage of a banged-up, foul-prone Michigan State squad, allowing Branden Dawson to score 20 points as the 12th-ranked Spartans rolled past Purdue 78-65.
The 12th-ranked Spartans might have to lean on the freshman guard Wednesday night at home against Minnesota.