Tom Izzo had the best description of the Spartans’ performance in their 72-68 overtime win against No. 3 Ohio State Tuesday night.
Michigan State was once again short handed and plagued by injuries. The team was without Travis Trice due to illness. Adreian Payne nearly did not play because of a sprained foot, and Keith Appling battled leg cramps throughout most of the game.
“I got to the building and he’s not playing,” Izzo said of Payne.
“I give him credit because I told him, ‘I don’t care if it’s football or basketball, you usually go as your seniors go.’”
The Buckeyes kept the game close during most of the first half, but a Payne jumper at the 2:49 mark broke the 21-21 tie and started a 7-0 run by MSU to close the half.
Michigan State dominated the second half, extending its lead to 17 at one point. MSU appeared to pull back on offense in the final seven minutes and allowed Ohio State to pull even with the Spartans by the end of regulation.
The three point shot helped MSU in the overtime period. Kenny Kaminski made a three with 2:40 remaining in the period to put the Spartans up by two. During the next MSU possession, Payne hit a three the next MSU possession to put the team up by four. OSU came back to tie the game 66-66.
Then with 29 seconds left in the game and the shot clock winding down, Appling hit a pull-up three from the top of the key that sealed the game for the Spartans.
“I work on that shot everyday,” Appling said.
“The moment it left my hand I felt like it was going in.”
Appling led all scorers with 20 points and had six rebounds with seven assists in 43 minutes of play. Gary Harris and Payne were also in double figures with 13 and 18 points respectively.
Michigan State did a good job of defending Aaron Craft and forced him to commit four turnovers. He had committed only one in his previous 113 minutes of play. The Buckeyes had 21 turnovers in the game.
MSU had seven turnovers with seven minutes left in the game and finished the game with 17 total, a major reason for the Ohio State comeback.
“That was the only way they were going to be able to comeback, was if we turned it over,” Harris said.
Despite winning the turnover battle, Michigan State struggled again on the boards, getting out-rebounded 42-28.
Payne would not say whether or not he will be ready to go for Michigan State’s next game Saturday against Minnesota.
The Spartans are now 2-0 against top five teams this year and are 3-0 to start the Big Ten season.
Andrew Hayes is the host of Impact Izzone for Impact Sports.
Photo: David Defever/Impact Sports