Michigan State is getting things rolling once again, grabbing its second consecutive win with a 72-61 road victory over Nebraska at Pinnacle Bank Arena on Thursday night.
The Spartans (14-9, 6-4 Big Ten) got extremely balanced scoring, with Miles Bridges, Alvin Ellis III, Kenny Goins, Nick Ward and Cassius Winston all finishing in double figures against the Huskers (10-12, 4-6).
Why it happened
Michigan State’s ball movement keyed the victory. In the second half in particular, the Spartans outscored Nebraska by swinging the ball around the perimeter, dropping it inside and letting post players kick out to open shooters. After intermission, Michigan State shot 8 of 11 form 3-point range. The Spartans hit 11 of their 17 3-point shots (64.7 percent) overall.
What it means
Michigan State has won consecutive games in Big Ten play for the first time since opening up the conference slate at 3-0. When the Spartans head to Ann Arbor to face Michigan on Tuesday, they’ll have a chance to get in even more of a groove. It helps that Ward seems to be recovering well from a bout of the flu.
Bridges led the way with 16 points and 6 rebounds (both team highs) while hitting 7 of his 10 field goals. Not only did he score, but he did it very efficiently, which coach Tom Izzo mentioned pregame is extremely important.
Eron Harris had another rough game, shooting 1 of 5 from the field and finishing with just 3 points. Just as importantly, his defense on Nebraska star Tai Webster didn’t cut it early on.
Who was there
Among the full crowd at Pinnacle Bank Arena sat Cleveland Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue, a Nebraska alumnus who was getting his number retired. Why might that matter to Michigan State fans? Well, they’re certainly happy that Lue is the Cavs coach returning to the college game as a vistor, as back in 2010, it looked like Izzo might end up with the Cleveland gig himself.
Who is next
This trip to Lincoln served as the only thing separating Michigan State’s two regular-season battles with Michigan. On Tuesday, the Spartans will head to Ann Arbor to try to repeat their 70-62 home victory against the Wolverines last Sunday. The game tips at 9 p.m. ET and, like the game Thursday, will be broadcast on ESPN.
Michigan State knocks off Nebraska on the road, 72-61. pic.twitter.com/CrfO3sJRDJ
— Luke Srodulski (@lsrodulski) February 3, 2017