Originally posted on isportsweb.com  |  Last updated 11/13/12
ATLANTA — With 16 seconds left, MSU guard Keith Appling drove past Kansas big man Jeff Withey and finished with a dazzling left handed lay-up to give the No. 21 Michigan State Spartans a 67-64 victory over the No. 7 Kansas Jayhawks. Appling finished the game with a game-high 19 points, eight of which came in the final seven minutes of the second half. Freshman Gary Harris put on an offensive clinic for the Spartans as he went 7-of-12 from the field for 18 points, and showed that he can put the ball in the bucket in more ways than one. Harris scored two back-to-back buckets with just over four minutes to play that cut the Kansas lead to 59-58 and jump started an 8-0 run by the Spartans. Kansas guard Elijah Johnson buried two free throws after a Harris foul to end the Spartans 8-0 run and cut the MSU lead to 62-61 with 1:47 left in the game. On the next possession, Appling came off a pick and drilled a three-pointer to give MSU a 65-61 lead with 1:38 left. The junior point guard finished the game shooting 3-of-3 from deep, and those that follow the program closely know how huge that this shooting performance is for him. Appling and Valentine celebrating after Appling’s late three-point shot. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images) Appling told isportsweb.com that he made 500 three-pointers a day during the summer, and with a three-point shooting percentage of nearly 63 percent in two games, it’s evident that hard work pays off. While MSU sophomore back-up point guard Travis Trice sat out of today’s game with concussion symptoms, many were watching 6-5  freshman guard Denzel Valentine closely. The freshman continued to show that he is the best passer on the team with some eye-popping passes into the post, and he even improved his defense tremendously from the first game. Still, the Spartans are struggling to not turn the ball over, as they’ve had two games of 15 turnovers this season, many of which are unforced. The Kansas Jayhawks did a good job of doubling in the post, and it caused a total of nine turnovers from the MSU big men. Derrick Nix led the Spartans in turnovers with four, and Adreian Payne added three. Both Nix and Payne have struggled thus far in the season, and if the Spartans plan on having success come March they need these two to play smarter. Nix looked lost at times on offense whether it was handling the ball at the top of the key or not knowing where to pass when the double team came. Payne has been the Spartans best interior defender in their first two games, but only played 17 minutes tonight due to foul trouble. This win was a victory that the Spartans needed, badly. For years, Tom Izzo has tested his team with early season match ups against college basketball’s elite on the biggest of stages, and for the most part they haven’t prevailed. In 2008, the Spartans lost big to North Carolina, but were able to beat a very good Texas team in Houston. In ’09, they lost to North Carolina, Florida, and Texas. 2010, they lost to UConn, Syracuse, Duke, and Texas. Last year, they fell to North Carolina and Duke. Sorry to bring up the past, but we need to dwell on it a little to realize how important this victory could potentially be. This Michigan State team is young, and a victory against a No. 7 Kansas team after a dog fight against a good UConn team in Germany four days earlier shows the character that this team possesses. As the clock was winding down it was clear that the MSU players were getting very excited and jumping around, as they should be, but if you looked at Appling you would’ve seen him give his teammates a calm down signal as if he was saying, “Act like you belong here.” That act of leadership by Appling continues to show that he put in a lot of work this summer, and not just on the court, but as a leader. Izzo has this team going in the right direction early, which is important. Games like this are tremendous confidence boosters, and with a victory of this magnitude on a national scale this early in the season, the future is looking very bright for a young Michigan State basketball team.  
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Steve Spurrier becomes special assistant to South Carolina AD

Brent Musberger wants you to bet on Joe Lunardi’s bracketology

Unranked Duke uses big first half to beat No.13 Louisville

MLB reportedly close to rule preventing collisions at second base

USOC says athletes concern about Zika shouldn't attend Games

Von Miller shares support for embattled Johnny Manziel

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

The Panthers had to use a silent snap count at the Super Bowl

Report: Lakers would fire Byron Scott to hire Luke Walton

Was Alain Vigneault right about NHL's lack of punishment towards Wayne Simmonds?

Seahawks’ Frank Clark rips Cam Newton ‘that boy a b—‘

Report: Tom Thibodeau has 'always wanted' Knicks job

Report: Luke Walton will not consider coaching offers until offseason

Andre Drummond hits 70-foot buzzer beater to end 3rd quarter

Duke's Allen appears to intentionally trip Louisville's Spaulding

Candidates for New York Knicks head coaching job

Attorney alleges Johnny Manziel ruptured ex-girlfriend's eardrum

Jeanie Buss may clean house in Lakers’ front office

Lisa Ann wants to reward Emmanuel Sanders for Super Bowl win

WWE Superstar Daniel Bryan to announce retirement

Nine best and worst players from 2015 NFL playoffs

Rodman wants Phil Jackson to know he’s ready to coach Knicks

Wade Phillips trolls Cam Newton with dabbing tweet

Top defensive performances in Super Bowl history

FBI questions Jeremy Shockey about drug and gambling ring

Coldplay drummer thought Johnny Football was real name

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.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Was Alain Vigneault right about NHL's lack of punishment towards Wayne Simmonds?

Report: Knicks fire coach Derek Fisher

The best and worst commercials from Super Bowl 50

Best and worst from Super Bowl 50

Six best plays from Super Bowl 50

Eli doesn't look thrilled as Peyton wins Super Bowl

Did Beyonce almost fall down during Super Bowl halftime show?

Curry to serve as drummer for Panthers

Report: Marshawn Lynch plans to retire

The 14 biggest plays in Super Bowl history

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker