Shavon Shields matched his season high with 28 points, including 19 in the second half, as Nebraska picked up its fourth straight win, a 72-71 win over No. 11 Michigan State at the Breslin Center Wednesday evening.
Shields was spectacular, hitting 12-of-20 shots from the field to lead three Huskers in double figures. Shields, who missed the final 4:24 minutes of the first half after landing on his back, hit 8 of 13 shots after returning to action, as three Huskers finished in double figures.
Glynn Watson Jr. added 13 points while Tai Webster finished with 10 points and seven rebounds for Nebraska (12-8, 4-3 Big Ten). Webster helped the Huskers in the final minutes of the first half, as NU was without Shields and Andrew White, who was in foul trouble and held to seven points.
The win gave NU three straight conference road wins for the first time since 1998 and snapped a 10-game losing streak to ranked teams dating back to 2014.
Trailing 56-51, Nebraska took control with a 13-0 run keyed by a pair of 3-pointers from Jack McVeigh, who had eight points and six rebounds off the bench. Shields, who also had six points in the run, closed the run with a 3-point play, giving Nebraska a 64-56 lead with 8:34 left.
The Huskers held MSU (16-4, 3-4 Big Ten) to 42 percent shooting, but the Spartans stayed in the game by hitting 11 of 18 from 3-point range, including 6-of-7 in the second half.
With Nebraska leading 68-62 with 1:55 left, the Spartans made one last run. MSU pulled to with 70-68 on an Enron Harris 3-pointer with 48 seconds left. NU ran clock on the next possession, as a Shields basket with 19 seconds left put the Huskers up, 72-68.
MSU kept fighting and when Denzel Valentine’s off-balance 3-pointer with 5.3 seconds left made it a one point game. The Spartans fouled Tai Webster, who missed the front end of a 1-and-1, giving MSU a chance. Valentine had a good look but his shot was off, giving the Huskers a third straight win over the Spartans and snapping a 10-game losing streak against ranked opponents.
In the first half, Nebraska withstood a slow start and were without their two leading scorers for the final four and half minutes of the half, but forged a 33-all tie with the Spartans. Nebraska shot 52 percent from the field and were within one rebound of the Spartans at the end of the first 20 minutes. Shields and Glynn Watson Jr. led Nebraska with nine points apiece, even though Shields missed the last 4:24 of the first half.
Nebraska fell behind early, as the Spartans scored the first five points to force an early timeout. The Huskers weathered the shaky start before finding its bearing behind the play of Andrew White III and Shields. Trailing 14-8, Shields and White combined for 10 points in a 13-0 Husker run, before 3-pointer by Glynn Watson Jr. and a Shields free throw gave the Huskers a 21-14 advantage with 11:54 left in the half.
MSU came right back, scoring eight straight points to regain the lead at 22-21 after a Matt Costello dunk, but baskets by Shields and Watson put the Huskers up by three at 25-22. NU led 27-24 on a Shields basket, but MSU used a 9-2 spurt to regain the lead at 33-29 after a Bryn Forbes 3-pointer with 2:37 left in the half. Nebraska would make one last run, as baskets from Webster and Watson to knot the score at 33 at the break.
The Huskers return to action Saturday afternoon when they host Michigan. Tipoff for #AveryStrong Day0 is set for 1 p.m. and the game will be carried on the Husker Sports Network and televised nationally on ESPN2.