East Lansing, MI (SportsNetwork.com) - Terran Petteway, Walter Pitchford and unranked Nebraska went into Breslin Center and shocked ninth-ranked Michigan State, 60-51, in Sunday's Big Ten clash.
Petteway scored 16 of his game-high 23 points in the second half, while Pitchford made four triples en route to a career-best 18 to help Nebraska (14-10, 6-6 Big Ten) to its third straight win overall and first road win over a ranked opponent since February of 2008, snapping a streak of 21 straight losses.
"I've only been here a year and a half but for us, obviously, it's a marquee win," said Nebraska head coach Tim Miles. "It's really important. I think there are certain moments in time that you have to define yourself. I really believe in this group."
Gary Harris scored 18 with four assists for MSU (21-5, 10-3), losers in four of seven. The Spartans and Michigan Wolverines both suffered defeats on Sunday, leaving the two schools in a deadlock on top of the conference standings with three weeks to play in the regular season.
Pitchford and David Rivers canned triples on Nebraska's first two possessions and Petteway scored seven in a row before the first media timeout, as the visiting Cornhuskers jumped out to a 13-4 lead.
"There are always tough losses in a season," said MSU head coach Tom Izzo. "This one was the toughest so far, because I was so disappointed in how we came out."
MSU responded by scoring the next 11, with Adreian Payne and Harris each delivering four during the surge.
The Spartans led 20-18 with 6:03 left when Nebraska took a timeout and regrouped. Whatever was discussed during the break got through, as Pitchford knocked down a pair of threes in the minute following. Shavon Shields then scored five in a row and Pitchford drilled another from distance, giving Nebraska a 32-25 halftime advantage.
Nebraska led comfortably for most of the second period and despite a late MSU push, Petteway made sure it would leave East Lansing with the surprise victory.
After Denzel Valentine's layup shaved the hosts' deficit to 48-44 inside of six minutes to play, Petteway rattled in a fade-away trey to keep MSU at arm's length. The Spartans then got within two a few minutes later on a Payne lay- in, and once again Petteway drained another deep shot.
Petteway then scored on a fastbreak layup and knocked down two free throws to seal the outcome. The sophomore scored 14 of the final 16 points down the stretch for the Cornhuskers.
Nebraska has won five of six overall ... Nebraska had just five turnovers as a team and just two from its starting unit ... MSU guard Keith Appling returned to the lineup after missing three games with a sore right wrist. He scored two points in 19 minutes off the bench ... Payne netted 11 points ... MSU shot just 5-of-24 from beyond the arc ... The Spartans did not score in transition.