USA TODAY Sports
No. 20 Michigan State used a strong second half and a dominant performance by Derrick Nix to defeat Texas on Saturday at the Breslin Center.
A tight game early in the second half turned in Michigan State's favor thanks to an 11-2 run that gave the Spartans (11-2) a 49-40 lead. Michigan State got that lead up to as many as 10, but Julien Lewis led a late Texas charge that trimmed the margin to two with just under five minutes left before running out of steam. The Longhorns (7-5) managed just 23 points in the second half after an impressive opening 20 minutes.
Michigan State burst out of the gates to a 12-4 lead behind a raucous home crowd, but Texas quickly recovered and took control of the first half. The Longhorns opened up a 33-28 lead at halftime, with the Spartans' only saving grace being the strong play of Nix, who scored 14 points in the half to keep his team afloat prior to their big second half.
Nix scored his 25 points on 7-of-10 shooting, and also made 11-of-14 from the foul stripe. The big man grabbed 11 rebounds to finish with a double-double. Adreian Payne added 13 points, including nine straight for the Spartans at one point in the second half.
Lewis finished with 16 points on 6-of-12 from the field. The Longhorns were hampered by turnover problems all game, coughing the ball up 18 times.