Published February 17, 2013
LINCOLN, Neb. – Dylan Talley thought Nebraska had the eighth-ranked Michigan State Spartans right where it wanted them.
The Cornhuskers had used the sharp shooting of freshman Shavon Shields to pull within a point with 14 minutes left Saturday night. The Huskers ended up losing 73-64 after Michigan State used a 20-6 run to break things open.
But for a while, Nebraska, which is known to pull an upset at home just about every season, had all the momentum.
"Sure did. That's exactly what I thought," Talley said. "It just turned out they made a couple more plays than we did and it went the other way."
Keith Appling scored 16 points to go over 1,000 for his career and Adreian Payne added 15 points and 14 rebounds for the Spartans (22-4, 11-2), who remain tied with Indiana for first place in the Big Ten.
The Cornhuskers (12-14, 3-10), who celebrated a storm-the-court kind of win over then-No. 11 Indiana last season, have lost seven straight against opponents ranked in the top 10.
But when it was 41-40, Nebraska coach Tim Miles said, his players believed they could pull the shocker of the day in college basketball.
"They were energized and excited and I think they felt like they could win," Miles said. "I think they felt like they should have beaten Michigan State last time. But Michigan State, they've got a Hall of Fame coach, they've got a great program. That's why they're Michigan State, tied for first in the league, and they win a game like this tonight when they're a little vulnerable."
Michigan State blocked a season-high 12 shots, with Branden Dawson matching his career high with four swats.
Gary Harris had 10 of his 14 points in the second half and Derrick Nix had 13 points and 11 rebounds.
Appling did most of his scoring from the free throw line, making 9 of 10 as the Spartans finished a two-game season sweep of the Huskers.
Talley scored 19 of his 28 points in the second half and Shields had all 19 of his after half for the Huskers.
"I don't care about the 28. We lost," Talley said. "I'd rather score five and we win. Just got to keep pushing."
Shields' last basket, a 3-pointer with 46 seconds left, cut Michigan State's lead to 68-61. But it wasn't enough to overcome the Spartans' big run after Nebraska had gotten within 41-40.
Nebraska came into the game having defeated at least one ranked opponent at the Devaney Sports Center in 19 of the past 22 seasons, and 11 of the last 12.
The Huskers had the home crowd thinking it might happen against the Spartans after Shields got hot early in the second half. He scored 12 of the Huskers' first 16 points after halftime, keeping them in it with a couple 3-pointers and then hitting a jumper to make it 41-40 with 14 minutes to play.
The Huskers had a chance to take the lead after Harris missed. But Ray Gallegos was off with his 3, and Appling made a couple free throws to put the Spartans up by three.
Payne and Matt Costello blocked shots by Brandon Ubel on consecutive Nebraska possessions, and Payne and Nix scored inside to finish a 12-2 spurt that restored MSU's double-digit lead.
Gallegos, averaging 13 points for the Huskers, was 0 for 13 from the field and finished with one point.
"It seemed like it got worse," Miles said. "You've got to stick with him. I believe in Ray, and it's a bad night and he's going to have a good night the next time out. You just watch."
The Huskers, in their final season playing in the Devaney Center, wore throwback jerseys from the 1976-77 season, their first in the building.
The game concluded the Huskers' Legends Weekend, with nearly 30 former players introduced at halftime and two-time All-Big 12 player Tyronn Lue inducted into the Nebraska Basketball Hall of Fame.