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 .

NCAA denies extra-year request by NC State guard Henderson

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RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — The NCAA has denied North Carolina State guard Terry Henderson’s request for another year of eligibility.

Henderson announced the decision Friday in a statement issued by the school.

The Raleigh native played two seasons at West Virginia before transferring to N.C. State and redshirting in 2014-15. He played for only 7 minutes of the following season before suffering a season-ending ankle injury.

As a redshirt senior in 2016-17, he was the team’s second-leading scorer at 13.8 points per game and made a team-best 78 3-pointers.

Henderson called it “an honor and privilege” to play in his hometown.

SMU gets transfer in Georgetown’s Akoy Agau

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SMU pulled in a frontcourt player in Georgetown transfer Akoy Agau, a source confirmed to NBCSports.com. Agau is immediately eligible for next season as a graduate transfer.

The 6-foot-8 Agau started his career at Louisville before transferring to Georgetown after one season. Spending two seasons with the Hoyas, Agau was limited to 11 minutes in his first season due to injuries. He averaged 4.5 points and 4.3 rebounds per game last season.

Coming out of high school, Agau was a four-star prospect but he’s never lived up to that billing in-part because of injuries. Now, Agau gets one more chance to make a difference as he’s hoping to help replace some departed pieces like Ben Moore and Semi Ojeleye.

South Carolina loses big man Sedee Keita to transfer

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South Carolina big man Sedee Keita will transfer from the program, he announced on Friday.

The 6-foot-9 Keita was once regarded as a top-100 national prospect in the Class of 2016, but he never found consistent minutes with the Gamecocks for last season’s Final Four team.

Keita appeared in 29 games and averaged 1.1 points and 2.0 rebounds per game while shooting 27 percent from the field.

A native of Philadelphia, Keita will have to sit out next season before getting three more seasons of eligibility.

Although Keita failed to make an impact during his only season at South Carolina, he’ll be a coveted transfer thanks to his size and upside.

Mississippi State losing two to transfer

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Mississippi State will lose two players to transfer as freshmen Mario Kegler and Eli Wright are leaving the program.

Both Kegler and Wright were four-star prospects coming out of high school as they were apart of a six-man recruiting class that is supposed to be a major foundation for Ben Howland’s future with the Bulldogs.

The 6-foot-7 Kegler was Mississippi State’s third-leading scorer last season as he averaged 9.7 points and 5.5 rebounds per game. Kegler should command some quality schools on the transfer market, especially since he’ll still have three more years of eligibility after sitting out next season due to NCAA transfer regulations. Kegler’s loss is also notable for Mississippi State because it is the second consecutive offseason that Howland lost a top-100, in-state product to transfer after only one season after Malik Newman left for Kansas.

Wright, a 6-foot-4 guard, was never able to find consistent minutes as he was already behind underclass perimeter options like Quinndary Weatherspoon, Lamar Peters and Tyson Carter last season. With Nick Weatherspoon, Quinndary’s four-star brother, also joining the Bulldogs next season, the writing was likely on the wall that Wright wasn’t going to earn significant playing time.

 

N.C. State lands second transfer of day with Utah’s Devon Daniels

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A big recruiting day for N.C. State continued on Saturday afternoon as Utah transfer and guard Devon Daniels pledged to the Wolfpack.

Earlier in the day, N.C. State and new head coach Kevin Keatts landed another quality transfer in UNC Wilmington guard C.J. Bryce.

The 6-foot-5 Daniels just finished his freshman season with the Utes in which he put up 9.9 points 4.6 rebounds and 2.7 assists per game while shooting 57 percent from the field and 40 percent from three-point range. Just like Bryce, Daniels will have to sit out the 2017-18 season due to NCAA transfer regulations before he has three more seasons of eligibility.

N.C. State now has two potential starters on the perimeter for the 2018-19 season with the addition of Bryce and Daniels as it will be interesting to see what kind of talent the Wolfpack can get around them.