EAST LANSING — Maybe it was Derrick Nix’s technical foul early in the second half that spurred Michigan State.
Maybe it was just Derrick Nix.
Adreian Payne, too.
The Spartan big men were again a tandem Saturday against Texas, a rebirth of a failed experiment earlier this year.
Nix finished with 25 points and 11 rebounds, Payne with 13 and seven. Both were demonstrative and focused, playing much of the second half together.
MSU really took control after Nix was called for a technical foul with 14 minutes to play and MSU ahead 41-40.
MSU’s senior center not-so-politely asked the ref, “What the (heck) are you doing?” It was a great question in the midst of a horribly officiated game. But the profanity led to the tech.
The tech, however, led to an amped up crowd (the alumni Izzone included). MSU scored the next eight points and was in relative control the rest of the way.
This was a good game for MSU, which hadn’t played a high-major opponent at home. The Spartans were emotional and dialed in and beat a pretty decent team.
It’s a good sign for Big Ten play, both in terms of MSU’s approach at home (at least in the second half) and how this team works in concert with the crowd.
Flaws remain. But the big advantage MSU hoped to have this season inside showed up against a sizable team.