EAST LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Denzel Valentine grabbed a defensive rebound, dribbled up the court and missed a shot just before the buzzer, allowing Nebraska to hold on for a 72-71 win over No. 11 Michigan State on Wednesday night.

"I thought it was good," Valentine said. "They deserved to win that game."

Michigan State (17-4, 3-4 Big Ten) has lost three straight and suddenly looks nothing like the top-ranked team it was earlier in the season.

"There's blood in the water right now," Spartans coach Tom Izzo said. "The sharks are coming."

Shavon Shields scored 28 points, playing through hip pain, to help the Cornhuskers (12-8, 4-3 Big Ten) win a fourth straight game, third on the road. They've also won three straight against the Spartans.

"That's really big for our program," Shields said. "They're a great team."

Shields, who left the game with a hip injury in the first half and came back to play after halftime, made a shot to put Nebraska ahead by eight points with 2:31 left.

"I honestly didn't think I could play," he said.

Nebraska's Glynn Watson scored 13 and Tai Webster had 10 points and missed a free throw with 4 seconds left that gave Valentine and Spartans an opportunity to avoid another loss, but he couldn't make the most of the opportunity.

"Don't blame my players; blame me," Izzo said. "I'm the one that's got to get us to play. We're going through a little mid-life crisis here, and we're going to find a way to get out of it."

The Spartans pulled within two with 45.8 seconds to go when Eron Harris made a 3-pointer. Shields lofted a floater over Valentine on the ensuing possession. Valentine's off-balance, leaning 3-pointer with 5.2 seconds left cut the deficit to one point, but he couldn't connect on one more shot to win for a second straight game. The senior guard also failed to make a jumper to that could've given Michigan State a win Sunday at Wisconsin. Valentine finished with 24 points, six rebounds and six assists.

Deyonta Davis had 13 points and seven points for the Spartans, who made just 42 percent of their shots from the field and 12 of 21 at the line.

TIP-INS

Nebraska: The Cornhuskers got some relatively good news at halftime when Shields was cleared to return to the game. The senior forward hurt his hip with four-plus minutes left in the first half, and had to be helped off the court as he kept weight off his right foot. Shields showed he was healthy in the second half, making a pair of go-ahead baskets in the opening minute. Midway through the second half, he had his right hip stretched on the sideline before going back in the game slightly hobbled. The next time Nebraska had the ball, he scored a three-point play on a driving layup and free throw to put Nebraska ahead 64-56 with eight-plus minutes left. Shields left the game again, briefly, to get his hip stretched before going back on the court.

Michigan State: The Spartans are struggling in part because Bryn Forbes has lost his shooting touch, especially at home. He was 1 of 8 against Nebraska and scored three points, one home game after going 0 for 5 and scoring just two points in a 17-point loss to Iowa. "He had good shots," Izzo said. "He won't miss those shots again. I feel sorry for that kid." Forbes had a chance to pull Michigan State within a point, but missed an open 3-pointer with just less than three minutes left. Shields made a shot on the ensuing possession to give the Cornhuskers a 68-62 lead. "We're missing a lock-down defender," Izzo lamented.

UP NEXT

Nebraska hosts Michigan on Saturday.

No. 11 Michigan State hosts No. 7 Maryland on Saturday night. "We've got to find a way to bounce back for a big game," Izzo said.

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