In close game, Spartans beat OSU, 59-56
Freshman guard Gary Harris attempts a layup over Ohio State center Amir Williams on Saturday, Jan. 19, 2013, at Breslin Center. The Spartans defeated the Buckeyes 59-56, improving MSU’s record to 5-1 in the Big Ten Conference. Adam Toolin/The State News
Keith Appling stood at the free throw line, stared straight ahead and exhaled deeply.
After being hounded all night by Ohio State’s Aaron Craft, MSU’s junior guard had the chance to get the last laugh.
Calmly sinking both free throws, Appling sealed a big victory for the No. 18 MSU men’s basketball team (16-3 overall, 5-1 Big Ten), as the Spartans topped No. 11 Ohio State (13-4, 3-2) 59-56, before a raucous crowd of 14,797 at Breslin Center.
Appling led the Spartans with 15 points, four rebounds and three assists, including scoring MSU’s final six points to carry his team to victory.
Junior center Adreian Payne, who replaced freshman guard Denzel Valentine in the starting lineup, added 14 points and five rebounds.
Appling and Payne had to overcome a herculean effort from junior forward Deshaun Thomas, who scored 28 of Ohio State’s 56 points while adding seven rebounds.
The hotly contested game went back-and-forth for most of the night, with eight ties and six lead changes throughout the energetic 40 minutes.
The Buckeyes had a chance to tie the game with a last-second 3-pointer, but the shot from sophomore guard Shannon Scott failed to graze the rim, securing the upset for MSU.