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Huskers Shock Spartans, 60-51
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Courtesy: NU Media Relations
02/16/2014
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EAST LANSING, Mich (AP). -- Terran Petteway and Walter Pitchford pushed Nebraska to one historic win.

Petteway scored 23 points, Pitchford had 18 and the Cornhuskers beat Michigan State 60-51 on Sunday to get 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," said Petteway, who had 16 in the second half.

It also was Nebraska's first Big Ten win over Michigan State. The Cornhuskers (14-10, 6-6) have won three straight conference games for the first time since the 2010-11 season.

"It was just a matter of staying together," Pitchford said. "We couldn't let the crowd dictate the game."

Gary Harris had 18 points on 5-for-15 shooting and Adreian Payne scored 11 for Michigan State (21-5, 10-3), which lost out on an opportunity to move a game ahead of No. 15 Michigan in the conference race.

The Spartans shot 34 percent (17 for 50), including a 5-for-24 performance from 3-point range.

"We got what we deserved," Michigan State coach Tom Izzo said. "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."

Nebraska jumped out to leads of 6-0 and 13-4. The Cornhuskers had a 32-25 advantage 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's been a difficult stretch of late for the Spartans, who have dropped four of seven after winning 11 in a row.

"This was a game we were supposed to win," Payne said. "But they wanted it more, and we didn't really come through."

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.

After Payne's layup pulled Michigan State to 51-49, the Spartans grabbed a defensive rebound and called timeout with their crowd roaring. Kenny Kaminski then air-balled a 3 from the left wing and Petteway made a contested 3 on the other end.

"I think there are certain moments in time that you have to define yourself," Miles said. "I really believe in this group. We're coming together and figuring things out."

Michigan State got off to a slow start but put together a 12-0 run to take a 15-13 lead. But that would be the biggest advantage for the Spartans, who blew several defensive assignments, including on the game's first possession.

"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."

Spartans point guard Keith Appling returned after a three-game absence due to a sore right wrist. He played 19 minutes but had just two points and one assist after not practicing for two weeks.

"We decided after warm-ups that we were going to try to play him some," Izzo said. "He tried to do what he could do. But if you're a skill guy, it's a little harder to come back."

Petteway was 7-for-17 from the field and Pitchford went 6-for-12 for Nebraska. No other Cornhusker had more than two baskets. But with just five turnovers, it was an afternoon to remember.

"Coach Miles told us the way you win on the road is to get ahead and stay ahead, and that's what we did," Petteway said. "We were just trying to pack the paint and make them score over top of us. That worked out pretty well."

Nebraska returns to action Thursday February 20th, when the Huskers face Penn State at the Pinnacle Bank Arena in Lincoln, Neb. Tipoff for the game is scheduled for 6 pm CST with game coverage provided by ESPNU and the Husker Sports Network. A limited number of tickets are available by visiting Huskers.com or calling 800-8-BIGRED. 

Postgame Notes
*-Nebraska’s win was just the fourth in school history over a top-10 team away from Lincoln and the first since a 74-69 win at No. 7 Iowa State on Feb. 22, 1997. It snapped a 29-game losing streak against top-10 teams away from Lincoln.

*-Nebraska snapped a 21-game losing streak to ranked teams on the road, dating back to a 65-59 win at No. 22 Texas A&M and Feb.23, 2008. NU had lost its last 24 games away from home against ranked teams.

*-Nebraska has won five of its last six Big Ten games and six of eight dating back to the win over Ohio State on Jan. 20. It marks the first time since 1998-99 that Nebraska went 5-1 in a six-game conference stretch.

*-Nebraska improved to 6-6 in Big Ten play, the first time since joining the Big Ten that Nebraska has been .500 at any point in conference play. Nebraska’s six Big Ten wins eclipses last year’s Big Ten win total. NU has six games remaining, including four at Pinnacle Bank Arena.

*-Nebraska picked up its first Big Ten win against Michigan State, snapping a four-game losing streak to the Spartans. Nebraska’s only other win in East Lansing came on Dec. 18, 1993.

*-Nebraska has won three straight conference games for the first time since the 2010-11 season.

*-Sophomore Walter Pitchford set a career high with 18 points, topping his previous best of 15 set at Northwestern on Feb. 8. Pitchford also tied a career high with four 3-pointers. Pitchford has been in double figures in five of the last six contests dating back to Jan. 26

*-Sophomore Terran Petteway eclipsed the 20-point mark for the eighth time this season, as he led all scorers with 23 points, including four 3-pointers.

*-Michigan State had won 45 of its previous 49 games at the Breslin Center prior to today’s loss to the Huskers.

*-David Rivers made his first start since Nov. 30 (Northern Illinois) and finished with six points and seven rebounds, tying a career high for the second straight game. His 3-pointer in the opening minutes was his first of the 2013-14 season.

*-Nebraska held Michigan State to season lows in points (51, previous low was 54 at Northwestern) and field goal percentage (.340, previous low was .359 vs. North Carolina).

*-Nebraska tied its season best with just five turnovers (also vs. South Carolina State).

*-It is the second time a Miles-coached team has beaten a top-10 opponent on the road. When he was at North Dakota State, the Bison beat No. 8 Marquette during the 2006-07 season.

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