A big second half powered Michigan State to an 86-65 rout of Nebraska in Omaha, Neb., on Thursday, keeping the Spartans in the mix near the top of the crowded Big Ten Conference.
Michigan State (18-9, 10-6 Big Ten) overwhelmed Nebraska (7-19, 2-13) with second-half runs of 17-7 and 14-4, turning what was a three-point margin at halftime into an easy win.
Cassius Winston paced the Spartans with a game-high 23 points on 7-of-11 shooting from the floor, included 3-of-4 from behind the 3-point line.
Led also by 5-of-8 shooting from outside for Gabe Brown and 4-of-6 from deep for Kyle Ahrens, Michigan State shot a blistering 48.1 percent from beyond the arc.
All three also scored in double-figures, with Brown netting 17 and Ahrens 14. Aaron Henry added 13 points, and Xavier Tillman recorded 10 points on 5-of-6 shooting and 11 rebounds.
Michigan State's balanced offense was in part the byproduct of effective ball movement, and to that end, the Spartans totaled 20 assists, including six for Winston and five for Henry.
Nebraska hung tough for the first half and the early minutes of the second half behind Dachon Burke, who finished with 21 points, including 4-of-8 from long range. Haanif Cheatham added 14 points and played a terrific defensive game with five steals and two blocks.
The Cornhuskers forced 22 Michigan State turnovers, but the Spartans' 13 made 3-pointers proved too much to overcome.
Michigan State came into Thursday's matchup with losses in four of its last five, including a 67-60 loss at home to conference-leading Maryland on Feb. 15.
The losing skid dropped the Spartans from immediate contention for the regular-season championship, but they remained one of four teams tied for third in the Big Ten loss column with six. Thursday's win keeps Michigan State on pace with Iowa, which beat Ohio State earlier in the night.
--Field Level Media