Four in Double Figures as Michigan State Beats Nebraska, 86-57
Ward tallied a season-high 22 points in the B1G opener.
EAST LANSING, Mich. – Sophomore forward Nick Ward tied a season-high with 22 points and led four players in double figures as Michigan State’s men’s basketball team won its sixth-straight game, beating Nebraska in the Big Ten Conference opener for both schools, 86-57, at the Breslin Center.
Michigan State, ranked No. 3 in the Associated Press and USA Today Coaches Top 25 polls, improved to 7-1 overall and 1-0 in the Big Ten. Nebraska falls to 6-3 overall and 0-1 in league play.
Ward hit 6-of-7 shots from the floor and was 10-of-13 from the free throw line to finish with 22 points, adding seven rebounds and three blocked shots. Freshman forward Jaren Jackson Jr. registered his fourth double-double of the season with 15 points and 10 rebounds, while sophomore guard Cassius Winston scored 16 points, handed out seven assists and grabbed six rebounds and sophomore forward Miles Bridges added 12 points and six rebounds
The Spartans had seen an 18-point lead shrink to 12 points (38-26) at halftime, but pushed the lead back to near 20 points early in the second half. A 7-2 burst to open the frame, capped by a jumper from Winston pushed the lead to 45-28.
Nebraska would get no closer than 13 points the rest of the way and the Spartans extended their lead to 21 points, 55-34, on a layup from freshman forward Xavier Tillman at the 15:15 mark. MSU took its biggest lead, 75-48, on a 3-pointer from Winston with 5:15 to play in the game.
Tied at 5-all after a jumper from Nebraska’s James Palmer Jr., the Spartans held the Cornhuskers without a field goal for nearly six minutes as MSU used a 11-2 run to take a 16-7 lead on a conventional three-point play from Bridges with 10:38 to play. A 3-pointer from Nebraska’s Anton Gill made it 16-10 and MSU led 18-12 with 9:40 left in the half before going on a 16-4 run over 4:23 to take a 34-16 lead on a 3-pointer from Bridges.
A dunk from Bridges gave MSU a 36-19 lead with 3:19 to play, but Nebraska out-scored the Spartans 7-2 over the final two minutes to cut the lead to 12 points.
Michigan State shot 47.4 percent from the floor (27-of-57), hit 26.3 percent of its 3-pointers (5-of-19) and 75.0 percent of its free throws (27-of-36). MSU held a 49-33 advantage on the boards and handed out 16 assists while committing a season-low six turnovers.
Michigan State hits the road for its next Big Ten Conference game, visiting Rutgers on Tuesday, Dec. 5. Tipoff in New Jersey is slated for 7 p.m. and the game will be shown live on the Big Ten Network, with Dave Revsine and Jon Crispin calling all of the action.