Heading into Thursday’s game against the Wisconsin Badgers, Keith Appling had been in a slump. He couldn’t get his shot to go and was rushing the game, rather than letting it come to him. It was a frustrating period for Appling as his Michigan State Spartans had dropped three straight games. Appling knew his production, or lack thereof, was a major reason why the Spartans were failing to win, and he seemed helpless to change the direction they were heading.
Then the schedule smiled favorably upon Appling and Michigan State, and the team was given a break in the action, just when they needed it the most. The resulting rest has given the team new life, and no one player has benefited more than Appling.
It started in the second half of Michigan State’s loss to in-state rival Michigan Wolverines. The game ended in heart breaking fashion, but seeing Appling show some life as the Spartans struggled to make a game of it was good to see. It was even better seeing how he responded against Wisconsin on Thursday. His 19 points on 7 of 13 shooting was just what Michigan State needed to push them past the Badgers and into the final game of the season.
With the win, the Spartans secured a first round bye in the Big Ten Tournament and stayed alive for a share of the Big Ten Title. They will need Michigan to defeat the Indiana Hoosiers to create a possible four-way tie atop the conference standings.