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For the first time in months, No. 22 Michigan State and Keith Appling look healthy

Mar 7, 2014, 12:12 AM EDT

Illinois v Michigan State Getty Images

Keith Appling scored all 12 of his points in the second half, including eight points in a 12-4 surge that sparked a massive second half run as the No. 22 Spartans knocked off No. 24 Iowa, 86-76.

Those eight points from Appling came in a flurry, and the hope is that they will change the course of Michigan State’s season. It started with a free throw. Appling had been struggling with a wrist injury — and some shaky confidence — in recent weeks, and after a scoreless first half and a missed front end, Appling hit the second of two free throws which finally seemed to give him some confidence.

He made a layup off of a turnover on the next possession, following that up with a driving, reverse layup that showed the kind of explosiveness and aggressiveness we’ve been waiting to see out of him. Three possessions later, he buried a three in rhythm, and it was all downhill from there as the Spartans outscored Iowa 36-18 over a 12 minute stretch.

Appling would add another three and a lob to Dawson after driving through Iowa’s entire defense.

I know that it was only 20 minutes of basketball, but Appling’s second half was the best basketball that he’s played in a long time. He looked confident and he was attacking the basket, and the Spartans were a different team when he did. Their energy level was way up, they got out in transition, they locked up Iowa defensively. For the first time since January, Michigan State looked like the Michigan State we’ve been waiting for.

Here’s the question: was this just a blip on the radar? Was this the emotion of Senior Night boiling over? Was this just a by-product of the fact that Iowa hasn’t been able to keep a sofa cushion out of the paint for a month?

Or was this a sign of things to come?

We’ve said it all season long. If Michigan State gets healthy, they will be one of, if not the favorite to win the national title.

In the second half on Thursday night, they finally looked healthy.

  1. spartyownsyou - Mar 7, 2014 at 10:20 AM

    Looks like someone has all their pieces back and is ready to make a deep run in the tournament. Crickets from that packhawk idiot.

  2. hoopslvr - Mar 7, 2014 at 10:47 AM

    Wonderful to see Appling show more of his talent/skill in second half; a courageous kid as it is not easy to play thru inevitable failures with diminished capacities while in heat of public eye. His recovery will help the spartans chances. Yet, this team even when healthy, though winning, has lacked the usual Izzo staples of toughness/rebounding/defense. They’ve won thru amazing offensive spurts with 3 pt barrages and doses of brief lock down D, or a different player getting “hot”. As a big Green and Izzo fan, I root, and see if/how they develop at this latest opportunity. As yet, they show no staples nor consistency, though this year fewer teams do. Earlier in season, Appling was the primary antidote to periods of malaise on the court.

  3. packhawk04 - Mar 7, 2014 at 11:15 PM

    Theyre finally healthy, just like they were when they lost at home to nebraska. But, lets not talk about that.

    • hoopslvr - Mar 8, 2014 at 6:26 AM

      You are probably just quipping, and you probably dislike the Spartans, BUT, this comment makes little sense. the article is about Appling’s potential resurrection and its impact. In loss to Cornhuskers Appling was as effecive a pt guard with the injured wrist as a 3rd stringer (did he even play?; I think he did) Cornhuskers were tougher that day and might have won even if all spartans were healthy. who knows?

    • tgd112gostate - Mar 8, 2014 at 4:27 PM

      Pack hawk? What the heck is a packhawk? Is that like an Osprey from the BWW commercial?

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