In front of the Rose Bowl winning championship team, the Michigan State Spartans hand the Ohio State Buckeyes their first loss of the season in an overtime thriller. The Buckeyes were down for most of the game and at one point down as much as 17, they fought back to tie the game only to lose, but not from lack of effort.
Both teams played in overtime like most would expect, hard and with passion. But the true story here is the Spartans’ two seniors (Keith Appling and Adreian Payne) who both nailed clutch three pointers in overtime to take the Spartans to a 72-68 win.
Both seniors have been fighting off injury in recent games. And with Travis Trice out with being sick and Denzel Valentine out early in the game because of foul trouble, Appling had no choice but to bring his A-game.
Appling told the Big Ten Network, “That’s the point guard’s job …. the simple fact that I’m a senior on this team and I’ve been here the longest and been through the most, of course I should be the leader out there.”
Aplling managed to score 20 points, grab 6 rebounds, and make 7 assists all while suffering from cramps.
“He had both of his legs cramped up, they were working on him every minute,” Tom Izzo said. “He couldn’t get open to save his life. If you want to write a story, write on his character and his heart because he just sucked-it up.”
Payne working through his own injuries did not even warm-up with the team, instead he was with trainers the whole time. Payne told Izzo he wanted to play and Izzo told Payne to wait until game time comes and if the adrenalin kicks in he will put him on the floor.
Payne didn’t start, but he did come in to make a huge difference by putting up 18 points and grabbing 6 broads, and just his mere presence on the court seem to give an advantage to the Spartans.
Tom Izzo was obviously not happy with the last seven minutes of the game when they let Ohio State back in led by the non-stop hustling of Aaron Craft. But he did say he was proud of the heroic effects of his seniors that lead the team to a win.
“Give us credit, we found a way to win.” Izzo also expressed something probably everyone has been thinking, “It’s a good football rivalry; it’s going to turn into a good basketball-football rivalry.”