FINAL: Men's hoops cruises past Nebraska in Big Ten opener, 86-57
Big Ten play came a little early this year, but that didn't affect the Spartans much as they breezed past Nebraska in their conference opener, 86-57, Sunday afternoon at the Breslin Center.
MSU has won six straight games by 18 points since losing to No. 1 Duke in the Champions Classic
Coming into the Cornhuskers were on a three-game winning streak, averaging 80 points per game on better than 50 percent shooting from the floor.
The Spartans held the Cornhuskers to just 25 percent field goal shooting in the first half and 27 percent overall.
"This is an excellent team," Nebraska head coach Tim Miles said of MSU. "This is the best team in the last six years I've seen them have."
Despite the high praise from Miles, head coach Tom Izzo thought the team could have played much better.
"Of all things, we weren't aggressive defensively, we weren't aggressive offensively," Izzo said.
"I didn't think the grit was there today. I thought every time we got a lead Nebraska came back."
Sophomore forward Nick Ward led the team in scoring with 22. Ward led both teams in free throw attempts and makes, going 10-of-13 from the line.
Freshman big man Jaren Jackson, along with sophomores Miles Bridges and Cassius Winston also finished the game in double figures along with Ward.
The contest swung back and forth early on. The Spartans had a 9-7 lead before proceeding to go on a quick 7-0 run, and then ran off nine straight points a few minutes later to take a 27-12 advantage.
Everybody got in the action early for the Spartans. All five starters tallied the score sheet nine minutes into the game.
MSU went into the half up 38-26 and never looked back from that point on, leading by as many as 29 in the second half.
Sophomore guard Matt McQuaid suffered a bloody nose late in the first half after taking an elbow to the face. No foul was called on the play and McQuaid would return later in the game.
MSU improves to 7-1 with the win and will gear for up for more conference action when they travel to play Rutgers on Tuesday.