Originally posted on Fox Sports Detroit  |  Last updated 1/19/13
EAST LANSING, Mich. -- Most people call it crunch time, but Michigan State coach Tom Izzo refers to it as winning time. You can crunch or be crunched, but there is no doubt about winning being what you want with the game on the line. Izzo loves having point guard Keith Appling at such times. He scored six of his team-high 15 points in the final 41 seconds of Saturday nights 59-56 win over No. 11 Ohio State. Appling, at winning time, has been as good as anyone, Izzo said. We just need him to do it earlier in the game. Appling, coming off four consecutive sub-par games against the Big Tens second-division teams, was scoreless until hitting a three-pointer with 6:33 to play in the first half. The winning time compliment and his coachs need for a 40-minute game were relayed to Appling in the postgame locker room. I just try to let the game come to me, said Appling, who smiled while leaning forward in a chair. I will not force it if its not there. But when its time to make plays, Im going to make them. Appling also sparked the 67-64 win over No. 4 Kansas by scoring MSUs last five points with a three-pointer and a driving layup with 14 seconds left. He hit all four free throws in the final 20 seconds of a 62-59 win at Iowa. Winning time has been his time to shine. But the gritty juniors scoring average could be much better than his team-high 13.8 with better starts. He scored 16 of 19 against Kansas in the second half. Consistent scoring will be the difference between being good or great for Appling. He explained why he was reluctant to shoot until late in the first half against the Buckeyes and point guard Aaron Craft. Youve got to give credit to Aaron Craft and Ohio States defense, Appling said. They took away the gaps Im used to seeing. But I like the challenge of playing Craft. Im a competitive guy. And to be the best, you have got to beat the best. Craft, also a junior, was averaging 8.9 points and 4.6 assists coming into the game. He had five points and six assists against Appling. I think one of the biggest plays is when Aaron slipped and Appling got that layup there, OSU coach Thad Matta said of the go-ahead basket with 41 seconds left. We couldnt make the plays to capitalize on the momentum. It was a streaky game early, with the No. 18 Spartans taking a 10-0 lead and then going scoreless for 6:37 to fall behind, 17-13. But then Adreian Payne, Appling and Denzel Valentine each hit a three-pointer in a two-minute stretch. That was the first basket for Appling, who began asserting himself. Getting off to a slow thing at home is one thing, but doing so on the road can bury a player and his team. The crowd -- which was as loud as its been since last year at Breslin Center -- gave the Spartans a boost. The crowd brought everything tonight, Appling said. It had not been that loud since the Indiana game last year. Appling had been faltering in the early stages of the Big Ten season, but he stepped up to seal a game OSU threatened to steal with forward Deshaun Thomas scoring 28 points. Izzo said he elected to hold down the other Buckeyes while keeping Thomas from an even higher point total, and the rest of the starting lineup scored just 15 points. Appling made some big plays when it counted and our defense was pretty good, said Izzo. Appling was coming off four consecutive games in which he had shot just 25 percent from the field and averaged only 9.5 points. But he made 6-of-13 from the field in this one to get back on track after taking just two shots in the first 13 minutes. He has maintained the belief that he can hit shots when they matter most even on nights when they dont drop early. Thats what scorers do. Im a confident person, Appling said. Thats not something Ive ever lacked.
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Baylor approves new measures to deal with sexual assault

Joe Mauer: Concussions blurred vision, affected hitting

LeBron James says Kevin Love-Celtics trade rumor is false

Michael Jordan gifts Kobe Bryant full set of Air Jordans

Bethune-Cookman football player killed at party

Former UFC heavyweight Kevin Randleman dead at 44


WATCH: Chelsea scores three goals in less than 20 minutes

Broncos safety Shiloh Keo arrested for DUI

Mountain West admits error, says Boise St. shot was good

WATCH: John Calipari loses his mind, gets ejected

Former Clemson star Tajh Boyd to speak at John Kasich rally

Peyton Manning's alleged not-so-wholesome image

Michael Jordan gives Kobe Bryant complete set of Air Jordans

Drake has Kentucky edition of custom ‘OVO’ Air Jordan 8s

QUIZ: Name every NBA All-Star Game MVP

Watch rare footage of Stephen Curry from 2001-02 emerges

Check out this custom camouflage Oregon helmet

Ejected John Calipari tweets “they don’t need me and I love it”

Popovich would 'buy ticket' to watch Warriors play

Jamal Murray destroyed South Carolina defender with dunk

WATCH: Lon Kruger gets Oklahoma hoops squad hype for Kansas test

Texas signee glad he didn’t pick Texas A&M after alleged racism

Dallas Stars have passed the early tests in February

Could Matt Forte become the revival for Patriots run game?

Are the Celtics legimate contenders in the East?

College Basketball News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Ranking the ten best free agent pitcher signings

Who had the best NBA All-Star Game of the last 40 years?

The winners and losers of the 2016 MLB offseason

On Kobe Bryant and taking greatness for granted

Bucks need to choose between wins, development

Fantasy booking WrestleMania 32

Unrestricted free agents each team must consider re-signing

QUIZ: Name the winners of the NBA Slam Dunk Contest

Thank you Daniel Bryan

The timeless greatness of Jaromir Jagr

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Follow Yardbarker