East Lansing, MI – Derrick Nix poured in a career-high 25 points to go with 11 rebounds on Saturday, as No. 20 Michigan State held off Texas, 67-56, at Breslin Center.
Keith Appling followed with 14 points and Adreian Payne donated 13 points and seven rebounds for the Spartans (11-2), who have won six straight.
"It was a physical game both ways and Nix was the only guy that stepped up and did the things that he was supposed to do," Michigan State coach Tom Izzo said. "He won the game for us and we went to him."
Julien Lewis led the Longhorns (7-5) with 16 points, while Sheldon McClellan added 13 points for Texas, which was coming off an impressive 85-67 triumph over No. 23 North Carolina on Wednesday.
Michigan State jumped out to an early 12-4 edge, but the Longhorns answered with a 13-4 spurt capped by Ioannis Papapetrou's 3-pointer to give Texas a 17-16 advantage with 8:43 remaining in the opening half.
Texas held a slim 25-24 edge with three minutes left in the half before McClellan took over, pouring in his team's final eight points of the frame to help the Longhorns take a 33-28 lead into the locker room.
The Spartans came out of the break energized, scoring the first eight points of the second half to grab a 36-33 advantage just over three minutes in.
After exchanging layups, Lewis nailed a triple, tying the game at 38-38 with 16 minutes left in the contest.
The Longhorns went cold from there as they failed to register a field goal over the next five minutes, allowing the Spartans to rip off an 11-2 spurt capped by Appling's trey to make it 49-40 with just over 11 minutes left in the contest.
The lead was up to 10 after a three-point play from Nix, but the Longhorns scored 10 of the next 12 points to pull within 56-54 with 4:44 left.
Texas, though, went the final four-plus minutes with just one field goal, as Michigan State closed the contest on an 11-2 spurt to secure the victory.
"There were a lot of opportunities up until the last four minutes where we were in the position to win a game," Texas coach Rick Barnes said. "We got some things we wanted; we just weren't quite good enough."
The all-time series is now tied, 4-4 ... Michigan State opens Big Ten play on Dec. 31 when it visits No. 13 Minnesota ... Texas guard Myck Kabongo, who accepted impermissible benefits and then falsified statements about his actions, had his season-long ban reduced to 23 games by an appeals committee.