Posted on December 22, 2012 at 5:24 PM
Derrick Nix had 25 points and 11 rebounds to help No. 20 Michigan State surged past Texas 67-56 Saturday afternoon.
Nix was 7-for-10 from the field and 11-for-13 at the line, a major improvement for a 64.9-percent foul shooter.
Keith Appling had 14 points and Adreian Payne added 13 for the Spartans (11-2), who stayed perfect in six December games.
Julien Lewis scored 16 points and Sheldon McClellan had 13 for the Longhorns (7-5), who couldn't match the efficiency of their 85-67 win over North Carolina Wednesday night.
Texas trailed 41-40 and had a chance to take a lead but McClellan missed two free throws after a technical on Nix. The Spartans promptly grabbed a three-point lead on a jumper by Payne. They later made it 49-40 on two free throws by Nix and Appling's 3-pointer.
It was 54-44 when the Longhorns cut the lead in half. A three-point play by Ioannis Papapetrou made a four-point game, and his jumper as the shot clock expired cut the margin to 56-54. After Payne and Appling built the lead back to six and Texas' Jonathan Holmes was called for charging, Nix added a free throw to build the lead back to seven.
Nix fittingly grabbed the game's last rebound, giving his team a 36-32 edge on the boards. That and 17 second-half free throws helped immensely.
Texas, the last nonconference opponent to win in Breslin Center exactly two years earlier, came in leading the nation in field goal percentage defense at .330. The Longhorns turned up the tempo, then dropped back into a zone to start the second half. But that didn't help against Nix, who sparked a 10-0 run to give the Spartans a 36-33 lead.