With star forward Adreian Payne sitting out today’s game with an ankle injury, head coach Tom Izzo looked to his back-court to lead the way at home against the visiting Minnesota Golden Gophers. They did just that. Senior Keith Appling and sophomore Gary Harris teamed up and combined for a total of 43 points, 24 and 19 respectively. They each notched three assists, two steals, and four rebounds as the Spartans as the Spartans made a second half comeback to take the game to overtime, where they dominated the weary Gophers to a final score of 87-75.
"No lead is safe at the end of a game, especially in the Big Ten," Appling said.
After going into halftime down 41-36, the Spartans wouldn’t back down. After four minutes into the second, MSU went on a tear, holding Minnesota scoreless as they went on a 15-0 tear for eight minutes.
Later near the end of regulation, Minnesota bounced back as they continued their quest for an upset on the road. Golden Gopher DeAndre Mathieu made a last second layup to send it to overtime.
Going into their second straight overtime, the Spartan went on another run, going 9-0 in four of the five minutes of OT, thus preventing Minnesota’s first chance to beat a top-five team on the road in program history.
After losing on the glass on Tuesday against the Ohio State Buckeyes, the Spartans turned their rebounding game around as they out boarded their opponents 44-32. Branden Dawsen and Denzel Valentine each notched 10 boards off the glass. Valentine contributed nine points, four assists and two blocks as well. Dawsen scored six points with a block and a steal.
Kenny Kaminski came off the bench in great fashion again today. The red-shirted freshman scored a career-high 15 points, shooting 5-7, all behind the arch.
The 15-1 (4-0) Spartans will now prepare to travel to Evanston, Illinois on Wednesday the 15th. There they will take on the 7-9 (0-3) Northwestern Wildcats. The game will air live on the Big Ten Network at 7 pm Eastern Time.
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