Appling breaks out of slump with big game

Senior point guard puts up 27 points in 101-48 win and hits all of his 3-point attempts.

It was unrealistic for senior Keith Appling to come away with only scoring four points in 28 minutes.

Spartans coach Tom Izzo said he talked to Appling a couple of times and those talks paid off because he put up 27 points, eight assists and five rebounds against the New Orleans Privateers.

"Maybe one of the biggest thrills of the night was Keith coming off one of his worst games," Izzo said. "He really bounced back.

"I think he's healthier. He had eight assists. I think if Gary hits a couple of those he has a double-double."

The past couple of weeks Appling had been nursing a sore hip and wrist, so coming home Izzo didn't want him to shoot.

Rest was all that was needed for Appling and Izzo said he was proud of him after the game.

"I reminded him the more he runs the team, the more assists he gets, it seems like the more points he gets," Izzo said. "As I said, he has a double-double if we make a couple more of those shots. He had eight assists and one turnover."

New Orleans head coach Mark Slessinger had nothing, but positives for the senior's play -- and the way he is viewed nationally.

"I think he's undersold a lot," he said. "Being from the Midwest, I'm still a but of a Big Ten junkie. I still secretly sneak watching Big Ten stuff. I think he has always been a little underated on the national scene. We didn't stop him in transition and we couldn't make quick decisions. He played a very, very efficient game today. We didn't contain him when we needed to and he got to the free throw line. His size and strength was key against our smaller guards."

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