Michigan State No.10 dominates Nebraska 79-67 for 8th straight win

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Michigan State Head Coach Tom Izzo chats with goaltender Jaden Akins during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against Nebraska on Wednesday, Jan.5, 2022, at East Lansing, Michigan (AP Photo / Carlos Osorio)

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Freshman Max Christie scored 21 points, a season-high, and Gabe Brown added 14 to help Michigan State’s No.10 pull away and beat Nebraska 79-67 Wednesday night for his eighth consecutive victory.

The Spartans (13-2, 4-0 Big Ten) led by just four points at halftime because they returned the ball more than 12 times. They built a bigger lead by taking better care of the basketball, finishing with 19 turnovers.

Many of Michigan State’s errors with the ball weren’t forced, including some that led to 11 turnovers in the game’s opening 10 minutes.

“No, nothing has been more confusing than some of these turnovers,” said Hall of Fame coach Tom Izzo, who is in his 27th season. “Some of them were weird.”

Michigan State scored three points early in the second half to take the 47-39 lead and that turned out to be the pivot.

“That’s all it takes for the State of Michigan in this building, they’re going to capitalize on the mistakes,” said coach Fred Hoiberg.

The Cornhuskers (6-9, 0-4) started strong, leading 17-12 and one point at the end of the first half and only allowed the Spartans to pull away at the end of the second half.

“I loved our juice early,” Hoiberg said. “We fought well all night.”

Derrick Walker of Nebraska scored 16, Bryce McGowens and Kobe Webster scored 13 each and CJ Wilcher added 10 points.

McGowens missed 9 of 15 shots, usually while Christie was guarding him.

“I’ve always been a goalscorer,” Christie said. “Defensively, I’ve come such a long way.”

Malik Hall scored 12 points and Tyson Walker had 10 points and for the Spartans, whose losses this season were to No.1 Baylor and No.6 Kansas.

PANDEMIC PLAY

The state of Michigan hosted its first game with a requirement for all spectators to provide proof of COVID-19 vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test within 72 hours of the announcement.

The new policy may have been a factor that kept some people away, as there were a lot of empty seats and some upper section rows with no fans at the Breslin Center.

BIG PICTURE

Nebraska: The program has lost 20 straight games to ranked teams, dating back to the Huskers’ victory over No.21 Maryland in the 2019 Big Ten tournament.

Michigan State: If Izzo’s team can find a way to curb their turnovers, they have a chance of winning the Big Ten and maybe making a run in the NCAA tournament.

“We’re not going to win if we keep returning the ball,” said Tyson Walker.

SIT DOWN

Michigan State senior Marcus Bingham has just four points, four rebounds and no blocks in 19 minutes. He entered the game second on the team with 11 points per game and first with three blocks and eight rebounds per game.

“If a guy doesn’t play energetically, he probably won’t play,” Izzo said. “It’s a shame because Marcus has been so good.”

HE SAID IT

Nebraska lost a five-point lead at the end of its previous game against No. 13 Ohio State before losing in overtime. The Huskers have also lost a game in four overtime this season to North Carolina State.

“I give Fred a lot of credit,” Izzo said. “They probably had three or four wins that they should have had.”

THEY MAKE STRIPES

The Spartans have won nine straight wins over Nebraska in the past six years.

FOLLOWING

Nebraska: Stay on the road to play Rutgers (8-5, 2-1) on Saturday afternoon.

Michigan State: Plays rival Michigan (7-6, 1-2) on the road Saturday afternoon.

“Which of you won’t return the ball?” Izzo asked reporters. “You are going to start. “

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More AP College Basketball: https://apnews.com/hub/college-basketball and https://apnews.com/hub/ap-top-25-college-basketball-poll and https: // twitter. com / AP_Top25



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