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Saturday, March 28, 2015 | Last updated: 1:26am

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No. 13 Spartans rout Nicholls State 84-39


Junior guard Keith Appling goes up for a shot during the game against Nicholls State on Dec. 1, 2012, at Breslin Center. Appling was the leading scorer for the Spartans with a total of 13 points helping them beat the Colonels 84-39. Natalie Kolb/The State News

After nearly a week of sluggish and generally ineffective play, the MSU men’s basketball team needed a strong showing to get its swagger back.

Playing against Nicholls State on Saturday at Breslin Center, an energetic performance including having four players in double-figures gave the team that chance.

Coming off a loss to Miami (FL) in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge, the No. 13 Spartans used a 27-4 first half scoring run, including a 17-0 run to end the half, to build an insurmountable lead and blow out the Colonels, 84-39.

Junior guard Keith Appling led in scoring with 13 points and six assists while freshman guards Gary Harris and Denzel Valentine chipped in 11 points apiece in the winning effort.

Coming off the bench, junior center Adreian Payne finished the game with a double double with 10 points and 12 rebounds.

The Spartans led the entire way, with their smallest lead on the day being just a single point in the first half before opening up the sizable scoring run.

The second half of the game was much of the same story, as the Spartans bloated the lead to as much as 46 points in the game.

The team returns to the floor at 8 p.m. on Wednesday at Breslin Center against Arkansas-Pine Bluff.

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