No Payne, No Game

Spartans land heart-stopping victory over Ohio State in first Big Ten home game


Every kid dreams about hitting the game winning shot to win a big game, but for Keith Appling, his dream has become a reality.

The senior guard’s three-pointer with under 30 seconds left in overtime gave the No. 5 MSU men’s basketball a 72-68 overtime win against No. 3 Ohio State Tuesday night, and senior forward Adreian Payne helped propel the victory with a gritty performance.

“I work on that shot every day. the moment it left my hands I felt like it was going in,” Appling said. “I’ve got to give credit to coach Izzo for having trust in me to put the ball in my hands late in the game in that situation.

Both of the Spartan seniors were hampered with injuries, and Payne nearly didn’t play at all in the game due to a foot sprain and plantar facetious.

Despite his injury, Payne played a role in the game near the end of the first half, scoring four straight points to push the MSU lead to four.

Redshirt freshman forward Kenny Kaminski would cap off the 7-0 run with his second three-pointer of the game and gave the Spartans a 28-21 lead at the half.

Harris scored the first points coming out of the locker room, a three-pointer assisted by Appling. He continued with his second straight basket almost two minutes later.

MSU pushed the lead to ten after Appling assisted on a three-pointer by Valentine and Valentine returned the favor on the next trip down the floor when he found Appling on the fast break for a layup.

The Spartans really started rolling when two massive Payne dunks sandwiched a transition three-pointer by Harris.

Not even the introduction of the Rose Bowl-winning football team at halftime matched the pure energy flowing through the Breslin Center after that series.

Payne shot 7-10 after starting the game 0-4 and finished with 18 points and six rebounds.

Sam Thompson scored nine straight points, and MSU didn’t score over a three minute span late in the game. The Buckeyes went on a 16-2 run to cut it to a one possession game.

“When the guys came over, I can’t say they were fired up, they were ticked off,” Izzo said. “If you have no passion for something, it won’t bother you. It was a shell shock and we just lost a 17-point lead.”

Things got crazy from there on out.

A scramble for the ball under the Spartan basket led to an Ohio State timeout. Craft sliced through the Spartan defense to tie the game with under a minute to play.

After MSU’s 16th turnover, OSU’s Shannon Scott streaked down the floor to lay it in for the win, but he was off on the shot and the game went to overtime.

Thompson hit two of his three free throws after he was fouled from behind the arch. He made two to give the Buckeyes their first lead since it was 19-17.

Freshman forward Kenny Kaminski hit a three-pointer, followed by another from Payne to give MSU a lead in overtime.

“My confidence is through the roof,” said Kaminski, an Ohio native. “My phone is blowing up from all my friends back home for winning the game, but that’s what I do. I’ve dreamed of this day.”

The Buckeyes fought back until Appling sealed the deal with his clutch three.

Appling was the high scorer with 20 points, followed closely by Payne with 18 and Harris with 13. Thompson led the Buckeyes with 18.

Before the game, Izzo said turnovers would be key, and the Spartans took care of the ball and won the turnover battle, 21-17.

What was more disturbing to MSU was the lack of any rebounding game. The Buckeyes won the battle on the boards 42-28, including 15 on the offensive side.

The Spartans return to action Saturday, when they host Minnesota at 2:15 p.m. at the Breslin Center.

“I think we’re a damn good team, but I don’t know where we are right now,” Izzo said. “I don’t know where we’re going to be at the next game, but we’re going to be better the next game. That’s a promise.”

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