Sophomore guard Sam Haiby led four Huskers in double figures with 19 points, but Nebraska couldn’t close the door on the Michigan State Spartans on the road, and dropped a 78-70 overtime loss to fall to 11-2 on the season and 1-1 in the Big Ten.
Nebraska entered the fourth quarter with a six-point lead, but a triple early stretched it to nine. But Michigan State (8-5, 1-1 Big Ten) ripped off 10 straight points to grab a 52-51 lead with just over five minutes to play, the Spartans’ first lead in over 20 minutes of clock. With 57 seconds to play, things were all knotted at 57 apiece.
Haiby hit a free throw with 37.1 remaining to put Nebraska back up by one, then guard Leigha Brown added another free throw with 15.7 left to give Nebraska a 59-57 lead. But Nebraska had four attempts in the final 37 seconds, leaving two points on the floor.
A loose-ball scramble gave Michigan State an out-of-bounds set with 3.8 seconds. On the inbounds, freshman forward Isabelle Bourne was whistled for a loose-ball foul with 2.2 seconds left. Michigan State hit both to force overtime.
Michigan State won the tip in overtime and scored on a layup 20 seconds into the extra period and Nebraska was never able to recover. A free throw by Haiby cut the margin to one (61-60) before the Spartans went on another run, this time a 12-4 spurt, to grow a nine-point lead (73-64) with 35 seconds left.
That was enough to stay unbeaten at home.
Rebounding was the key stat after the halftime break. Michigan State was plus-15 on the boards in the second half. In total, Michigan State grabbed 22 offensive rebounds and turned those into 22 second-chance points.
Michigan State hit just 37% from the field, but connected on 7-of-20 from beyond the arc, including six of its 15 attempts in the second half. The Spartans also hit 17 of their 25 free throws, including 6-of-7 in overtime. Nebraska was just 2-of-17 on 3s and 16-of-26 at the free throw line.
Nebraska returns home Saturday, Jan. 4, to play host to No. 24 Minnesota. Tip-off between the Huskers and the Golden Gophers set for 5 p.m. CT on BTN.