FINAL: Five Spartans score double-figures as MSU records first road win since Dec. 27 against Nebraska
Freshman forward Nick Ward was left out of the starting lineup for the first time in 10 games for the Spartans (14-9 overall, 6-4 Big Ten), but played limited minutes as the Spartans earned their first road win since Dec. 27 by defeating Nebraska (10-12 overall, 4-6 Big Ten) Thursday, 72-61.
Sophomore Kenny Goins started in place of Ward and scored the first two field goals for MSU. Ward's first action on the court came out of the first media timeout as he laid one up to give MSU a 16-13 lead over the Huskers with just over 12 minutes left in the first half.
After flirting with a near double-digit lead midway in the first half, Nebraska scored on consecutive possessions to cut MSU's lead to four. Both teams exchanged scores in stalemate before fifth-year senior guard Eron Harris drew a foul while driving the lane for a 3-point score and freshman forward Miles Bridges drained a jumper from the right side to regain the eight-point lead with just over two minutes in the half.
MSU's defense barred down to take a 32-26 lead into halftime while limiting Nebraska to score on one of its last nine field goal attempts going into the midway break. Bridges led the way for the Spartans with a game-high 11 points, the team shot 50 percent from the field, 3-of-6 from 3-point range.
Nebraska's Jordy Tshimanga led the way with 10 points for the Huskers and tied for the team-high in rebounds with freshman forward Isaiah Roby with five. As a team, Nebraska connected on 36.0 percent of field goal shots while converting on 1-of-5 3-point shots.
Out of the half, Nebraska was able to cut the deficit to two points in the first three minutes of play. Scores from Goins, senior wing Alvin Ellis III and freshman point guard Cassius Winston cut out a 10-1 run spanning over a minute and a half to take the team's first double-digit lead of the game.
A triple shot from the top of the key by Nebraska forward Jack McVeigh cut MSU's lead to nine points with 12:17 left in regulation, 53-44.
After connecting on seven of their next nine shooting attempts, the Spartans found themselves ahead 14 points with seven minutes remaining. Triples from junior point guard Lourawls "Tum Tum" Nairn Jr. and freshman wing Josh Langford made it a 17-point game with 3:47 left to play.
As the clock dwindled the Huskers would chip their way back with free-throw shooting but would fall short to fall two games below .500 in conference play.
Nebraska had three players in double-figure scoring with Tai Webster tallying a game-high 18 points. The Huskers found the net on 39.6 percent of their shots, with 4-of-16 from beyond the arc.
Five Spartans finished scoring in double-digit figures, Bridges had a team-high 16, Ellis had 11 with three shots from 3-point range, and Ward, Winston, and Goins each finished with 10. As a team, MSU shot 55.8 percent from the field with 11 3-point baskets.
- Points: Bridges (16)
- Rebounds: Bridges (6)
- Assists: Harris and Winston (4)
- Points: Webster (18)
- Rebounds: Tshimanga (9)
- Assists: Webster (5)
The Spartans will round out their two-game road stand against the Wolverines at the Crisler Center on Tuesday. Tipoff against U-M is scheduled for 9 p.m.