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Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Keith Appling’s layup ‘all she wrote’

Michigan State forward Derrick Nix tosses a pass out to the perimeter against the Kansas defense late in the second half, Tuesday, Nov. 13, 2012 at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta.

Michigan State forward Derrick Nix tosses a pass out to the perimeter against the Kansas defense late in the second half, Tuesday, Nov. 13, 2012 at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta.

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Podcast episode

Press Conferences & Post-Game Interviews

KU coach Bill Self talks after MSU loss

Kansas coach Bill Self talks to reporters after his team's 67-64 loss to Michigan State on Nov. 13, 2012.

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Podcast episode

Press Conferences & Post-Game Interviews

Jeff Withey and Elijah Johnson

Kansas seniors Jeff Withey and Elijah Johnson talk to reporters following KU's 67-64 loss to Michigan State on Nov. 13, 2012.

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Box score

KU-MSU

— When Michigan State guard Keith Appling received a pass from teammate Derrick Nix in the final 30 seconds with his team leading by one, he said he had one objective: get to the lane.

“The offense was kind of stagnant, so I just wanted to make a play the best way I possibly could,” Appling said following MSU’s 67-64 victory over Kansas University on Tuesday at the Georgia Dome. “When he kicked it out to me, I knew he was coming to set a ball screen.

“From there, it was all she wrote.”

Appling split KU defenders Jeff Withey and Kevin Young, contorting his body between them before spinning a scoop shot off the glass to give the Spartans a three-point lead with 14 seconds left.

“He did a great job of staying under control,” MSU coach Tom Izzo said. “The left-hand lay-up was superb.”

Earlier, Appling had hit a three-pointer over the top of Withey after the Jayhawks decided not to go over a ball screen to defend him.

Appling, a junior guard, believed that play might have freed him up for the crucial lay-up in the final seconds.

“I knew (Withey) was going to try to close out on me a little bit harder,” Appling said. “I knew it would be a lot easier for me to go by him and get the easy basket, so that’s just what I wanted to do.”

Appling didn’t just beat KU off the dribble. His game-high 19 points included perfect 3-for-3 shooting from three-point range.

Last year, Appling made just 25 percent of his three-pointers (24 of 96).

“He locked himself in a gym this summer. He shot a lot more shots than he ever shot in his life,” Izzo said. “And tonight was just one night where he got rewarded a little bit. As a coach, it’s fun to see that.”

The 18th-year coach Izzo, who improved to 3-1 against KU coach Bill Self during Self’s time with the Jayhawks, was happy to get to 1-1 after his team’s season-opening 66-62 loss to UConn on Friday in Germany .

“I think the good news is, we got a little bit of our pride and character back after not playing very well over there,” Izzo said.

Izzo described Tuesday’s bout as a “grind it, smashmouth game.”

“They didn’t play great in some areas. We didn’t play great,” Izzo said. “But, still, it was a helluva basketball game for this early in the season.”

Comments

Clarence Haynes 4 years, 10 months ago

Learning curve game. Withey and Ellis have to to step up their games.

yates33333 4 years, 10 months ago

I would think Releford and Johnson also need to step up their game. KU has no go to player when in a pinch. No TT.

yates33333 4 years, 10 months ago

Football was once described as "smash mouth," now the MSU coach describes basketball that way. The NCAA? Well, they sit wherever it is and smirk. Some governing body. Some pensionaires. Some referees!!

eastcoasthawk 4 years, 10 months ago

Better to lose in November than during March Madness. Was a good game and the difference was that their freshman were more aggressive than ours. No worries though. It will all come around. Just a matter of when. Should be another fun year.

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