After a tough road win against Iowa last week, the No. 22 MSU men’s basketball team (13-3 overall, 2-1 Big Ten) returned home Sunday night with many expecting a slight reprieve.
Yet if it wasn’t already clear, there’s little rest for the weary in this year’s topsy turvy Big Ten.
The depth of the conference was on full display in the first half at Breslin Center, as Nebraska (9-7, 0-3) and MSU headed into halftime tied at 32.
A back-and-forth opening six minutes saw both teams knotted at 10 apiece, before the Spartans put together a small surge.
MSU rattled off a 7-2 run to take their biggest lead to that point, but Nebraska responded with a 11-2 rally to move in front, 23-19, with 7:58 to go in the first half.
Sophomore guard Branden Dawson and junior center Adreian Payne soared to block shots for the Spartans, keeping Nebraska at bay, but Nebraska was able to maintain its lead for most of the rest of the half.
A pair of free throws from senior center Derrick Nix evened the score at 32 apiece with 15 seconds remaining.
Payne and Dawson paced the Spartans in the first half, with Dawson scoring 10 points and grabbing four rebounds, while Payne added nine points off the bench.
Nix was the only other Spartan to total more than three points in the first half, putting in six points.