EAST LANSING, Mich. – Keith Appling bounced back from a poor performance when No. 13 Michigan State needed him most.
Appling led a pivotal run early in the second half and finished with 24 points, eight rebounds and seven assists to help the short-handed Spartans beat Illinois 80-75 on Thursday night.
Michigan State (18-4, 7-2 Big Ten) started the game without senior center Derrick Nix, finished it without sophomore guard Travis Trice (head) and played much of the second half without freshman guard Gary Harris (back).
We just had to pick it up and grind the game out without Gary and Travis, Appling said.
The junior point guard was coming off a three-point, no-assist, five-foul performance Sunday in a five-point loss at No. 3 Indiana. Appling helped the Spartans score the first 14 points of the second half to take their first lead against Illinois.
He was the best player on the floor, Illinois coach John Groce said. He did a great job of making his teammates better.
Nix didn’t start because Izzo said the captain missed one class and one meeting with a tutor. He entered the game midway through the first half and finished with eight points.
OMAHA 86, IPFW 79: At Omaha, Neb., Frank Gaines had 32 points in the Mastodons’ loss. Luis Jacobo added 16 points and Michael Kibiloski 12 for IPFW (10-14, 3-7 Summit League). The Mastodons were outscored 50-38 in the second half by Omaha (8-16, 5-6).
INDIANA TECH 82, SIENA HEIGHTS 78: At the Schaefer Center, the host Warriors put five players in double figures in the win. Melvin Brooks led Tech (19-6, 12-5 WHAC) with 22 points, Jeff Hoskins had 18, Antonio Cannon 17, Antonio Landers 11 and Jordan Hickman 10.
No. 5 DUKE 82, MIAMI 43: In Durham, N.C., Tricia Liston scored 17 points, and Chelsea Gray added 16 as the Blue Devils used a 20-0 run to pull away.
WISCONSIN 63, No. 7 PENN STATE 61: In Madison, Wis., Morgan Paige scored a career-high 33 points to lead the Badgers.
No. 9 TENNESSEE 88, MISSISSIPPI STATE 45: In Knoxville, Tenn., Kamiko Williams scored 10 points and grabbed a career-high 13 rebounds in her first start of the season as the Vols won for the 10th win in their last 11 games.
No. 11 NORTH CAROLINA 72, No. 20 FLORIDA STATE 62: In Chapel Hill, N.C., Xylina McDaniel scored 19 points and Waltiea Rolle added 18 and 10 rebounds as Tar Heels coach Sylvia Hatchell got her 899th win.
No. 13 GEORGIA 65, ALABAMA 59: In Athens, Ga., Khaalidah Miller scored 11 points off the bench to lead the Bulldogs.
No. 14 PURDUE 59, INDIANA 42: In West Lafayette, Sam Ostarello had 14 points and 10 rebounds to lead the Boilermakers. KK Houser and April Wilson scored 12 points apiece for the Boilermakers (18-3, 7-1 Big Ten). Taylor Manuel added 11 points for Purdue, which held a 45-30 rebounding edge.
No. 16 TEXAS A&M 60, VANDERBILT 52: In College Station, Texas, Courtney Walker scored 20 points to lead the Aggies.
ILLINOIS 74, No. 24 IOWA 62: In Champaign, Ill., Karisma Penn scored 18 points, Adrienne GodBold and Amber Moore added 17 apiece for the Illini.
No. 25 DELAWARE 70, GEORGIA STATE 38: In Atlanta, Elena Delle Donne scored 25 points as the Blue Hens won their 12th consecutive game.
IPFW 51, OMAHA 46: At the Gates Center, Courtney Ogle had 19 points for the host Mastodons.
Amanda Hyde added 18 points and Erin Murphy 16. IPFW improved to 8-13, 4-5 in the Summit League.