for this game

Michigan State downs Nebraska

Jan 1, 2012 - 2:19 AM Lincoln, NE (Sports Network) - Draymond Green scored 19 points and pulled down eight rebounds as No. 16 Michigan State overcame a slow start to defeat Nebraska, 68-55, on Saturday.

Keith Appling scored 14 points for the Spartans (13-2, 2-0 Big 10), who have won 13 straight games and start 2-0 in the Big 10 for the fifth straight year.

"It's sad to say but we didn't play very well. I think they had a lot to do with it," Michigan State head coach Tom Izzo said. "I was not disappointed with our effort. I was just disappointed with our execution. I've been telling people we've won 13 in a row, but we are not a great team yet. We are a good team. You get to being a good team by winning games on the road. We took a step in the right direction today."

Bo Spencer scored 15 points and Toney McCray added 14 points and six rebounds for Nebraska (8-5, 0-2), which has lost two in a row to start conference play.

"I couldn't be prouder. I thought they competed. This team, as I have said all along, is going to win some ball games. I believe that. As long as we continue to compete, you know, we are going to have some shots at it. We just need to figure out how to finish it off," Nebraska head coach Doc Sadler said.

After Brandon Ubel nailed a jumper to make it 28-21 with 5 1/2 minutes left in the first half, the Spartans closed on a 9-2 run to pull within 30-29 after the opening 20 minutes.

Michigan State continued to build on its momentum in the second half.

All in all, it was a 19-5 run by the Spartans in between the first and second stanza as Michigan State took a 40-32 advantage with under sixteen minutes to go in the game.

The Huskers, though, did not go away.

After a Branden Dawson jumper gave the Spartans a 53-39 lead, Nebraska countered with an 11-0 run, capped by a Spencer three-pointer to make it a 53-50 game with under nine minutes to go.

But a pair of Appling buckets quickly pushed the advantage back to seven and the Huskers didn't have another big run in them as the Spartans hung on.

McCray netted six points and Spencer nailed a three-pointer to give Nebraska a quick 12-4 lead five minutes into the game.

Game Notes

This was the first meeting between the schools as Big 10 opponents...The win gave Michigan State its first undefeated December since 2007...The Huskers defeated the Spartans, 96-91, in an overtime thriller the last time these two teams met.