EAST LANSING, Mich. – No. 9 Michigan State got off to a slow start Sunday and was unable to catch Nebraska at the end.
Spartans coach Tom Izzo said the setback was all his fault.
“We got what we deserved,” Izzo said after Michigan State’s 60-51 loss. “And the only guy to blame for that is me. It’s my job to get them ready to play, and we didn’t look ready to play.”
Gary Harris had 18 points on 5-for-15 shooting and Adreian Payne scored 11 for Michigan State (21-5 overall, 10-3 Big Ten), which lost out on an opportunity to move a game ahead of No. 15 Michigan in the conference race.
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The Spartans shot 34 percent (17 for 50), including a 5-for-24 performance from three-point range.
“This was a game we were supposed to win,” Payne said. “But they wanted it more, and we didn’t really come through.”
Terran Petteway scored 23 points and Walter Pitchford had 18 for Nebraska (14-10, 6-6), which got to .500 in the Big Ten for the first time since joining the conference.
“We really came in and played with a chip on our shoulder,” Petteway said.
It also was Nebraska’s first Big Ten victory over Michigan State. The Cornhuskers have won three straight conference games for the first time since the 2010-11 season.
Nebraska, a 13-point underdog, took leads of 6-0 and 13-4. The Cornhuskers were ahead 32-25 at halftime and held off a second-half surge by closing the game with a 9-2 run.
“I’ve only been here a year-and-a-half,” Nebraska coach Tim Miles said. “But for us, obviously, it’s a marquee win.”
It was Michigan State’s first loss to Nebraska since Dec. 10, 1994, when the Cornhuskers rallied for a 96-91 overtime victory over the 15th-ranked Spartans. Michigan State had won six of seven against Nebraska in East Lansing.
It has been a difficult stretch of late for the Spartans, who have dropped four of seven after winning 11 in a row.
“I’m disappointed,” Izzo said. “I talked to my team at our pregame meal about the Super Bowl, about how if you come out and get punched in the mouth, you have to be ready to play all the time.”
Nebraska outhustled the Spartans for most of the game, helping the Cornhuskers make up for their own shaky offensive performance. They shot 36 percent (19 for 53) from the field.
“Today, we were the ones who didn’t bring it,” Izzo said. “And Nebraska, they were junkyard dogs. They reminded me of some of our old teams. They took it at us. They talked it, they walked it, they played it.”
No. 4 Wichita State stays perfect
EVANSVILLE, Ind. – Ron Baker scored 26 points and Fred VanVleet finished with 18 points, eight assists and five steals, leading No. 4 Wichita State to an 84-68 victory over Evansville.
The Shockers (27-0, 14-0 Missouri Valley) remained one of two perfect teams in major-college men’s basketball and extended their school-record winning streak. They are the 21st team in NCAA Division I history to go 27-0, a list No. 1 Syracuse could join later this week.
D.J. Balentine and Egidiju Mockevicius each scored 19 points, not quite enough to prevent Evansville (11-16, 4-10) from losing for the fourth time in five games.
Creighton beats No. 6 Villanova
OMAHA, Neb.– Doug McDermott matched his season high with 39 points and passed Larry Bird for 13th place on the Division I career scoring chart, and No. 18 Creighton defeated sixth-ranked Villanova 101-80.
Creighton’s second victory over Villanova in a month moved the Bluejays (21-4, 11-2) into first place in the Big East, a half-game ahead of the Wildcats (22-3, 10-2).
The Bluejays won their 16th straight at home.
McDermott, a two-time first-team All-American, went over 30 points for the 23rd time in his career. The senior has 2,863 career points.