Posted March 05, 2013 on AP on Fox
Keith Appling was quite a clutch player for Michigan State earlier this season, making plays for himself and teammates late in games to help the Spartans surpass relatively modest expectations. Lately, the junior guard has simply struggled at both ends of the court. Appling has scored in single digits in every game during a three-game losing streak that has knocked the Spartans out of first place in the Big Ten and to No. 10 in The Associated Press college basketball poll. Even Appling will acknowledge he is struggling at both ends of the court. ''Yeah, I would agree with that,'' he said softly Sunday after his poor play let rival Michigan steal a one-point win at home. Appling is also quick to say he still has confidence in his ability to have success this season. ''Things just haven't been going my way lately, but I'm a mentally tough person,'' he said. ''So, I don't let it bother me too much. I just watch the film and try to grow from it.'' His next chance is Thursday night at home against No. 22 Wisconsin. Michigan State coach Tom Izzo said last week that he was confident Appling would bounce back at Michigan, but he didn't. Appling missed six of nine shots, limiting him to nine points, and had six rebounds, five assists and two turnovers, one of which was very costly. ''It's going to take a championship to get over this one because it's a feeling that I don't think I'll ever be able to swallow that we couldn't beat these guys again,'' he said, choking up. ''Hopefully, we can win the championship so we can feel a little better. We still have a couple more games left in the regular season and we've got to finish strong.'' Appling had the ball with the shot clock off and the score tied. He turned his head to see if Izzo wanted him to call time out. Michigan's Trey Burke snatched the ball away and raced to the other end for a dunk with 22 seconds left for the game's last field goal. ''I thought Coach was going to call time out,'' Appling said. ''But at the same time, I've still got to be aware of what's going on and protect the ball. He made a great defensive play, it was one of the reasons they won the game.'' On the final sequence, Appling was open on the left wing in front of his team's bench -- saying he was confident in his chances to take and make a game-winning shot -- but Burke intercepted Gary Harris' pass to seal the 58-57 victory. Harris, a freshman, who has surpassed Appling as the team's leading scorer, said he doesn't have to say anything to Appling to help him shake off his slump. ''He's confident and we have full confidence in him,'' Harris said. And, Izzo insisted Appling's latest lackluster performance doesn't make him worry. ''I'm really not,'' Izzo said. ''I thought in a way he pushed the ball, and most of the time he checked pretty well. He got in foul trouble there to change some things. He pushed the ball a lot better than he's been pushing it. He missed some shots, but that last play, give Burke credit. ''I don't blame that on Appling.'' Appling's teammates don't, either. ''We ask him to do a lot,'' forward Adreian Payne said. ''It's hard being a point guard. We as a team have to be able to help him. Yeah, he's struggling, but everybody struggles and we're going to be here to pick him up.''

Michigan State Basketball: Keith Appling, Tom Izzo stay positive despite recent struggles from the point guard

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Michigan State basketball looks to right ship vs. Wisconsin

After dropping three straight games, the 10th ranked Michigan State Spartans (22-7, 11-5) will return home to East Lansing to close the regular season out with a pair of games at the Breslin Center. And they’ll begin that two game home stand on Thursday when they welcome the 22nd ranked Wisconsin Badgers (20-9, 11-5) into town. Tip off is set for 9:00 PM and will be televised on...

The Absence Of Hype Shouldn’t Lead To Despair

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Tracking the Brackets: Michigan State Slides to a 3-Seed

Michigan’s clutch win over Michigan State on Sunday shook up both the Big Ten standings — Indiana clinched at least a share of the conference title on that result — and the respective teams’ tournament outlooks. A mid-season hot streak had the Spartans in the mix for a No. 1 seed come NCAA Tournament time. Their current three-game losing streak, however, has dropped them...

Michigan and Michigan State square off in floor slapping contest, or something like that

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Will Drake Harris Stay Committed To Michigan State?

Photo Credit: Lauren Walson/College Spun Drake Harris, who is currently committed to Michigan State as a 2014 prospect, has continued to receive media attention and offers from top notch football programs. Harris is a junior at Grand Rapids Christian High School, is one of the top rated wide receivers in the country. A lot of questions have been raised on whether the standout wide...

Big Ten Women’s Tournament Bracket: Michigan-Michigan State Quarterfinal Looms

The Michigan women’s basketball team’s Sunday loss at Ohio State took the Wolverines out of the running for a first-round bye at the upcoming 2013 Big Ten Basketball Tournament. The Wolverines’ path instead will pit them against No. 12 seed Indiana in Day 1′s finale (approximately 9:30 ET), with the winner taking on fourth-seeded Michigan State in Friday’s quarterfinals...

Badgers Women lose regular season finale, 54-48, to MSU

Despite a game high 17 points by Morgan Paige the Badgers dropped their regular season finale, 54-48, in East Lansing to Michigan State. Wisconsin can look no further than itself for this loss as they were forced into 19 turnovers that turned into 22 points for the Spartans while they only mustered up 10 points off of 15 MSU turnovers.  The loss drops the Badgers to 11-18 on...

Wisconsin-Michigan St. Preview

Michigan State and Wisconsin can still claim shares of the Big Ten title, but they've made it much harder on themselves after recent disappointments. The No. 10 Spartans, losers of three straight, and the 22nd-ranked Badgers, who are coming off an upset defeat, will square off Thursday night in East Lansing with the winner still alive for part of the conference crown. Michigan...

Video: Tom Izzo reacts to 58-57 loss at Michigan

Tom Izzo addressed the media after Michigan State’s one-point loss at Michigan on Sunday afternoon. Watch the Michigan State head coach’s press conference in the embedded media player below:

Michigan State at Michigan Highlights

Via MGoVideo:

Photo Gallery: Michigan 58, Michigan State 57

All photos by Dustin Johnston. Full gallery after the jump.
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