Top 25: No. 20 Michigan State 67, Texas 56
East Lansing, Mich. • Derrick Nix had 25 points and 11 rebounds to help No. 20 Michigan State surge past Texas 67-56 on Saturday.
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 on 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 it 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.