Keith Appling turned in a less than stellar performance in a loss to Indiana last weekend.
Appling torched the Fighting Illini defense for 24 points.
He established himself in the paint and pulled down eight rebounds. He also did a good job of getting his teammates involved as he dished out seven assists.
It was a performance the Spartans needed in an important Big Ten home game against an Illinois team that came to town desperate for a victory.
Appling knew what was on the line and he went out and did something about it. He didn’t let the three-point, no assist showing against the Hoosiers rattle his confidence.
“We just had to get back on the winning track,” Appling said in a post-game press conference. “My teammates and coaches have a lot of faith in me and put the ball in my hands.”
Appling was a leader for the Spartans on Thursday night. He made everyone around him better and he made sure Michigan State overcame the fact that Travis Trice and Gary Harris were dealing with injury issues.
The Spartans, with just two losses in Big Ten play, are still alive and well in the hunt for a conference championship.
And if the Spartans are going to be in the mix for the championship at the end of the year, Appling needs to continue to deliver the way he did on Thursday night against Illinois.
Brian Lester is a college basketball writer for Rant Sports. Follow him on Twitter @BLester1993.