The Washington Times-Herald

December 28, 2011

IU suffers first loss in Big 10 opener

The Associated Press

EAST LANSING, Mich. —  Keith Appling scored a career-high 25 points and sparked a 20-0 second-half run to help No. 16 Michigan State hand No. 13 Indiana its first loss of the season, 80-65 on Wednesday night.

Appling, who had 18 points in the second half, added seven assists for the Spartans (12-2, 1-0 Big Ten), winners of 12 straight.

Derrick Nix had 14 points and Brandon Wood and Draymond Green added 13 each for the Spartans, who shot 54.7 percent from the field and had a 17-5 edge at the free throw line.

Christian Watford had 26 points for the Hoosiers (12-1, 0-1), who overcame an 18-point first-half deficit with a 25-2 run, only to see Michigan State dig out of a 54-45 hole.

Cody Zeller and Jordan Hulls, key cogs in Indiana’s best start since 1976, each managed just four points as the Hoosiers shot 42.2 percent and were outrun in transition.

The Spartans led by 18 points, then trailed by nine before Appling took over, starting the decisive run with a scoop and a free throw. He added another three-point play on a steal, a stumbling layup and a foul shot, then fed Adreian Payne for an alley-oop slam.

Payne had all eight of his points in that critical stretch, while Brandon Dawson was hot early with seven points. And when the Hoosiers cooled off from 3-point range, going 2 for 11 in the second half, Michigan State made its move.

The Spartans had nine steals and a season-low nine turnovers, fueling a student-less crowd that ranked with the best in recent years in Breslin Center, as Izzone alumni came from all parts of the country to make a difference.

Michigan State held a 33-31 rebound edge, forced 13 turnovers and shot 77.3 percent at the foul line, correcting a season-long concern.

The Spartans grabbed a 13-4 lead, capped by six straight points from Derrick Nix. They doubled that margin when seven straight points from Wood, four from Green and a 3 from Appling to make it 34-16 with 5:11 left till halftime.

For the rest of the period and the first 9 minutes of the second half, it was all Hoosiers.

They quickly chopped the lead in half when Matt Roth stroked two 3s and Watford hit from long range. Another five points from Victor Oladipo and Watford cut the deficit to 34-29 before Appling ended the half with a layup.

Indiana went on another 12-0 run to start the second half and went up 41-36 behind six points from Oladipo and the first two baskets of the game from Zeller.

And after Michigan State tied it at 43, the Hoosiers grabbed their biggest lead of the night on a 3 from Watford.