It took more than 14 minutes for a Michigan State player other than Branden Dawson or Adreian Payne to score, but once Keith Appling got on the board with 5:23 to go in the first half he stepped up and led the Spartans to a 67-63 win against Oakland.
The senior point guard scored the first five points and eight of the first 10 for MSU in the second half. He stepped up bigger when the game was tied 50-50 with 7:45 to go when he hit a deep 3, found Dawson for a layup as the shot clock expired and then converted on an and-one layup in transition to gives MSU a 58-50 lead.
Adreian Payne had 20 points and 10 rebounds for MSU. Branden Dawson chipped in 16 points and 13 rebounds.
The Spartans were without shooting guard Gary Harris, who sat out with a right ankle injury that has been plaguing him. Matt Costello did not travel with the team because of illness and Kenny Kaminski also did not make the trip and is suspended indefinitely for not meeting standards.