Dawson on Appling's dunk: "he’s been watching Russell Westbrook a little too much"
When Keith Appling drove for a powerful, one-handed dunk midway through the second half, it not only cut into a sizable lead, but was the defining moment of a tide beginning to turn.
The Spartans would later go on a 22-2 surge, lifting the No. 8 MSU men’s basketball team (25-7) to a stunning, 59-56, come-from-behind victory against Iowa (21-12) in the Big Ten Tournament’s quarterfinals, with many crediting Appling’s dunk for the spark.
Here’s a sampling of the reaction to Appling’s dunk after the game.
“I just wanted to go up as strong as I could, explode to the highest point that I possibly could, and just try to finish strong because I felt like if I would try to lay the ball up it probably would end up getting blocked. I just wanted to finish strong and see what would happen.
“I bounce around like that all the time in practice, I just never brought it to the game. I haven’t seen it yet, but I’m curious to see what it looks like on film.”
“It just felt like we had our feet in the quicksand and we just didn’t get out. And with those types of plays, Keith just brought a lot of energy and gave us a little more fight.”
“His dunk was a big play. It did kind of get us going. And so I did say, if Keith isn’t playing well, it’s hard for us to be good. He doesn’t have to be great, but he has to be pretty solid and steady and tonight I thought he did a good job defensively.”
“A lot of people don’t think Keith can jump like that, but we see it every day in practice. It was kind of a flash of … I think he’s been watching Russell Westbrook a little too much. When he did that dunk, I was just stunned and shocked because it gave us life and it definitely made us ready to play even more.”
“I ain’t seen that since high school. That was big. That was a momentum changer. It changed the momentum when he got up and it just shows his athletic ability, and I feel like he’s been holding out. He needs to start doing that a little bit more.”