When Tom Izzo told Michigan State point guard Keith Appling to take over, the smallest starter on the court made all the big plays his team needed to pull out a victory.
Appling scored 22 points while Branden Dawson and Denzel Valentine made key contributions as slow-starting Michigan State rallied twice to beat Boise State 74-70 on Tuesday night.
''I just knew that he was putting the ball in my hands, and I had to make it happen for the team,'' Appling said after taking over with a five-point deficit in the final 8 1/2 minutes.
Appling was 8-for-14 from the field and delivered the critical three-point play in the final minute.
Valentine had 12 points in his first career start, while Dawsen added 10 points, five rebounds and three steals for the No. 15 Spartans (3-1), who suffered a major blow for at least one night when high-scoring freshman Gary Harris suffered a severe left shoulder injury in the opening minute.
''Give us credit for hanging in there through some bizarre thin...