Lincoln – Dachon Burke Jr. had 18 of his 21 points in the first half, but Nebraska was unable to slow down Michigan State, falling 86-65 on Thursday night.
Nebraska was within 39-36 at the break, but shot just 28 percent in the second half, while the Spartans shot 61 percent after the break to pull away in the final 20 minutes.
Burke finished the night with 21 points on 7-of-15 shooting, including 4-of-8 from 3-point range. Joining Burke in double figures were Haanif Cheatam (14 points and five steals) and Yvan Ouedrago (10 points and seven rebounds).
Nebraska made a couple early runs in the second half, and was within 48-46 before Aaron Henry keyed a 11-1 Spartan surge, scoring six of his 13 points to help MSU take a 59-47 lead. The Huskers chipped away and got within 61-54 after a Jervay Green 3-pointer with 8:54 left, but could get no closer as Michigan State ran off nine straight points, including 3-poitners from Gabe Brown and Kyle Ahrens to push the lead back to 16.
In all, the Spartans committed 22 turnovers, but went 13-of-27 from 3-point range and enjoyed a commanding 51-26 rebounding advantage for the contest. Nebraska was unable to find similar long-range success, converting only 8-of-32 3-pointers, including just 3-of-18 after halftime.
Cassius Winston led all scorers with 23 points and six assists, while Gabe Brown finished with 17 points, including 5-of-8 from 3-point range. Kyle Ahrens came off the bench to score 14 points on 4-of-6 shooting from 3-point range and also recorded seven rebounds, while Henry (13) and Xavier Tillman (10) also finished in double figures.
The first half featured runs by both teams as Michigan State took a 39-36 lead into the locker room. Nebraska trailed 7-2 early, but the Huskers ran off nine straight points, including a 3-point play from Thorir Thorbjarnarson to take an early 11-7 lead. Nebraska eventually stretched the margin to 17-12 after a pair of Burke free throws with 11:31 left in the half, but Michigan State would come back.
The Spartans hit three straight 3-pointers as part of an 11-0 run to build a 23-17 lead after a Rocket Watts basket. The Huskers trailed 30-23 after a Xavier Tillman basket, but
NU would battle back behind the play of Burke, who finished with 18 first-half points.
Burke hit a trio of 3-pointers in an 80-second span, the last of which tied the score at 36 with 46 seconds left in the half. Aaron Henry came back on MSU’s next possession and hit a trey of his own to give the Spartans the lead heading into the locker room.
The Huskers return to action on Monday, Feb. 24, as the Huskers travel to Champaign to take on the Illinois Fighting Illini. Tipoff is set for 7 p.m.