Miles Bridges’ 16 points leads Michigan State over Nebraska 72-61

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LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) Michigan State finally broke through against Nebraska.

Miles Bridges scored 16 points to lead five Spartans in double figures, and they shot 63 percent in the second half to pull away from Nebraska for a 72-61 victory on Thursday night.

The Spartans (14-9, 6-4 Big Ten), who beat Michigan on Sunday, won consecutive games for the first time since December and ended a three-game losing streak against the Cornhuskers (10-12, 4-6).

“Nebraska has beaten us like a drum,” Michigan State coach Tom Izzo said. “I don’t think we have any players that have beaten Nebraska.”

His team’s difficulties against the Huskers have been a head scratcher. Michigan State regularly is near the top of the Big Ten. Nebraska is usually near the bottom.

It wasn’t as if the Spartans’ players were obsessed with ending the skid.

“That’s the funny thing in the Twitter era,” Izzo said. “Nobody thinks about yesterday or the day before. People don’t think about the past as much. I didn’t hear that as a battle cry. Maybe that’s good.”

The Spartans’ Cassius Winston said he and his teammates came into the game looking at the big picture. Michigan State is trying to make the NCAA Tournament for the 20th straight year, and there’s a lot more work to be done to get there.

“We said there’s no more room for error,” Winston said. “If we want to make our dreams, our goals we put out at the beginning of the season – if we want to make them come true, we’ve got to play consistently for every game.”

Michigan State’s bench outscored Nebraska’s 31-9, with Alvin Ellis III scoring 11 points and Nick Ward and Winston adding 10 apiece. Kenny Goins also had 10 points.

Tai Webster had 18 points to lead Nebraska, Jordy Tschimanga added a season-high 15 points and nine rebounds and Glynn Watson Jr. scored 13.

Michigan State made eight of its first 10 3-pointers in the second half and finished 11 of 17. The Spartans took the lead 7 minutes into the game and were ahead by single digits until Winston’s 3-pointer made it 50-38 with 13:50 left. They led by as much as 20.

“We pushed through adversity when they were starting to come back,” Bridges said, “and we fought to bust the lead wide open.”

Bridges, the Spartans’ 6-foot-7, 230-pound freshman sensation, was 7 of 10 from the field, including 2 of 5 on 3s, and had a team-leading six rebounds.

“He’s so versatile,” the Huskers’ Evan Taylor said. “Especially to be that size, he can go both ways – shoot the 3, shoot mid-range. We didn’t do too bad of a job on him. Good players are going to make plays.”

Cleveland Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue was at Pinnacle Bank Arena to have his Huskers jersey retired during a halftime ceremony. He played at Nebraska from 1995-98.

BIG PICTURE

Michigan State: The Spartans won away from East Lansing for the first time since Dec. 27. Izzo says his team is still a long way from being very good, let alone great. He said 15 turnovers were too many and that the Spartans need to do a better job rebounding. Nebraska held a 32-27 edge on the glass and got 12 on the offensive end.

Nebraska: The Huskers couldn’t carry over the momentum from beating a then-No. 22 Purdue at home on Sunday, and now they’ve lost six of their last seven.

SICK SPARTANS

Goins made his first start since Dec. 18 in place of Ward, who had started 10 straight games. Both missed two practices because of illness, but Izzo said Goins started because he felt better than Ward.

“Ward and Goins are sicker than dogs,” Izzo said. “I’m happy they could go. If you watched both of them, they were dying.”

UP NEXT

Michigan State visits Michigan on Tuesday. The Spartans beat Michigan 70-62 at home on Sunday.

Nebraska visits Iowa on Sunday. The Huskers beat Iowa 93-90 in double overtime at home on Jan. 5.

More AP college basketball: http://www.collegebasketball.ap.org and https://twitter.com/AP-Top25 .

Buffalo sophomore arrested, charged with strangulation, witness intimidation

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Buffalo sophomore Quate McKinzie is facing a litany of charges stemming from an incident in which he allegedly attempted to strangle a female acquaintance.

McKinzie, who is 20 years old, was later handed more charges after he made threatening phone calls to his accuser from jail.
From the Buffalo News:

The original charges placed against the UB sophomore were second-degree strangulation, a D-felony; misdemeanor counts of criminal obstruction of breathing, assault, menacing, harassment; and stealing the victim’s vehicle.

The latest charges are third-degree witness intimidation and first-degree criminal contempt, both E-felonies; and two misdemeanors, aggravated harassment and disobeying a court mandate, according to Tonawanda Police Patrol Capt. Fredric Foels.

“University Athletics is aware of the alleged incident and is in communication with university and local authorities,” Buffalo released in a statement. “Quate McKinzie is currently enrolled at the University at Buffalo and is suspended indefinitely from the university’s basketball team. Due to the ongoing investigation and federal protections on student information, we will have no further comment on the matter at this time.”

McKinzie is a 6-foot-8, 195 pound forward that played in 17 games last season. He averaged 3.9 points and 4.3 boards.

Auburn’s Austin Wiley suffers stress fracture

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Auburn center Austin Wiley has a stress fracture in his left leg and will be out 4-6 weeks, the school announced Monday.

No surgery is required, but Wiley, who played with Team USA’s U19 team in Egypt earlier this month, will miss Auburn’s trip to Italy.

“You know how tough and committed a young man is when he plays through the pain of a stress fracture,” said Pearl. “He was receiving treatment while in Egypt, but had no way of knowing the extent of his injury. Doctors say it is in a good spot for healing, and he will be fine.”

Wiley averaged 8.8 points, 4.7 rebounds and 1.4 blocks in 18.1 minutes this past season. He started 21 of the Tigers’ 22 games after he enrolled in school midseason.

Virginia Tech loses key shooter to torn ACL

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Virginia Tech suffered a brutal blow earlier this month when Ty Outlaw went down with a torn ACL in his right knee.

Outlaw is one of the best shooters on Virginia Tech’s roster, banging home 48 percent of his three-balls last season, and he was expected to be a major part of the rotation following a season where he scored in double-figures in six of the last eight games, including four games of better than 16 points in that stretch.

This is a blow to Virginia Tech’s depth, but it is also a tough break for Outlaw, who transferred to Virginia Tech from a Junior College and had to sit out the 2015-16 season due to a heart issue. The redshirt senior will likely be eligible to receive a medical redshirt should he decide to apply for one.

Report: Miller brothers schedule Indiana-Arizona series

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The Miller family does not appear to be worried about sibling rivalry.

According to a report from FanRag Sports, Archie, the head coach at Indiana, and Sean, the head coach at Arizona, have agreed to a three-year deal to have the two programs face-off against each other. They’ll start in 2019-20, playing in Arizona, then face-off in Bloomington the following season before finally heading up to Madison Square Garden in 2021-22.

If you can get past the fact that we are now scheduling games for 2022 (!!!), this is actually going to be a pretty neat and unique thing. How often do two brothers end up coaching at the Division I level? The Drew brothers — Bryce at Vanderbilt and Scott at Baylor — are one pair, but they cancelled a series that would have seen the two programs square off last season. James and Joe Jones at Yale and Boston University are another pair. They were league rivals for eight yeas when Joe was the head coach at Columbia. When Sean Sutton was the head coach at Oklahoma State, his brother, Scott, beat them was the head coach at Oral Roberts.

So it’s not typical for this to happen, mainly because it’s not easy to compete at something so important against someone you care about so much.

Think about it.

Imagine working in a profession where your success comes at the expense of your brother? It’s one of the major reasons — beyond the obvious — that no one believed Sean Miller would actually consider taking the Ohio State job when it opened. Facing off against your brother in a non-conference game you choose to play is one thing. Competing for league titles against him for the foreseeable future is something totally different.

Which is a long way of saying that this should be an enticing matchup, however it plays out.

VIDEO: Zion Williamson throws down a vicious putback

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Zion Williamson made another highlight-reel play on Saturday outside of Atlanta as he threw down a vicious putback dunk at the Best of the South.

The five-star prospect has returned from a minor knee injury this spring to look like his old self in July as he’s entertained packed gyms of fans and college coaches the last two weeks.

The Class of 2018 star is currently regarded as the No. 3 overall prospect in the latest Rivals.com national rankings.

(h/t: Courtside Films)