EAST LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Joshua Langford had a season-high 18 points and Aaron Henry scored 16 points to help Michigan State beat Nebraska 66-56 Saturday night.
The Spartans (9-7, 3-7 Big Ten) ended a four-game losing streak, their longest since 2017 and the skid led to the program’s worst nine-game conference record since the 1969-70 season.
The Cornhuskers (4-9, 0-6) played for the first time in nearly a month, returning to competition after a COVID-19 outbreak. Nebraska coach Fred Hoiberg, who had a severe case, was one of the many people in the program who tested positive for the coronavirus.
The Cornhuskers were competitive early in the game and led 15-14 midway through the first half.
Michigan State took control for good and led 34-22 at halftime. The Spartans were ahead by as much as 16 early in the second half, overcoming 22 turnovers and Joey Hauser fouling out without a point.
Nebraska’s Trey McGowens had 13 points and Lat Mayen scored 10 points. Teddy Allen was held to three points and made 1 of 10 shots. The West Virginia transfer entering the game averaging 18-plus points.
Michigan State junior forward Gabe Brown returned from a three-game absence after testing positive for COVID-19. He had six points and seven rebounds in 18 minutes.
The Spartans were home for the first time since Jan. 8, but there were no fans in the stands due to the school’s enhanced-physical-distance directive. Michigan State players and coaches previously had some family members attend games at the Breslin Center.
Nebraska: The rusty team had a respectable showing after an outbreak paused activities Jan. 11. It will have plenty of chances to compete the rest of the season and could end up playing 15 times in 32 or 33 days.
Michigan State: A desperately needed win was earned, but the team needs to win many more games to extend its NCAA Tournament streak. Turnovers continue to be the No. 1 problem with a slew of giveaways against Nebraska preventing the Spartans from pulling away.
Nebraska: Plays at Minnesota on Monday night.
Michigan State: Hosts Penn State on Tuesday night and No. 8 Iowa on Saturday afternoon, giving the team an opportunity to earn a much-needed win over a ranked opponent.