Michigan State (18-9, 10-6 Big Ten) men's basketball pulled away from Nebraska (7-19, 2-13 Big Ten) down the second half stretch. The Spartans started sophomore walk-on guard Jack Hoiberg against his father, Nebraska coach Fred Hoiberg, in a game where they were favored by double digits but plagued by another slow start. MSU would establish themselves in a 86-65 win.
Hoiberg went 2-for-3 from the field in 5 minutes, including a long step-back two with under a minute remaining.
Dachon Burke Jr. carried the load for Nebraska, putting up 21 points on 7-for-15 shooting.
The Spartans were able to build a lead as large as seven in a back-and-forth first, a half in which sophomore forward Gabe Brown led the way with 12 points on 4-of-6 from three. He finished with 17 points on 6-of-9 from the field.
Senior guard Cassius Winston eventually assumed form in the latter period, finishing with 23 points on an efficient night, shooting 7-for-11 and adding six assists.
MSU held a two-point advantage with 15 minutes to play. Sophomore forward Aaron Henry added two free throws. Winston hit a three. Henry hit a trademark up-and-under and hit a long two on the next possession. Brown followed with a finger roll to cap an 11-1 run, a stretch representing the ignition the Spartans have lacked in failing to pull away.
Henry nearly earned a double-double, totaling 13 points on 5-for-10 shooting.
The Spartans made due on their emphasis on the boards, outrebounding the Cornhuskers 51-26.
Michigan State returns home to battle Iowa (19-8, 10-6 Big Ten) at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 25.