AUBURN HILLS, Mich. (AP) – Keith Appling scored 18 of his 21 points in the second half and Adreian Payne had 20 points and 10 rebounds as No. 5 Michigan State held off Oakland 67-63 on Saturday.
Branden Dawson added 16 points and 13 rebounds for the shorthanded Spartans (8-1), who were rusty early and turnover-prone after a 10-day break.
Michigan State played without leading scorer Gary Harris, who is still nursing an ankle injury. The Spartans were also without big men Matt Costello (mononucleosis) and Kenny Kaminski (academic suspension).
Duke Mondy, the nation’s leader in steals, had 24 points and seven swipes for the Golden Grizzlies (2-9) in their home game played at the Palace of Auburn Hills. Travis Bader has 18 points and was 4 for 14 from 3-point range, while Corey Petros added 11 points for Oakland, winless in 12 games in the series.
Michigan State got all but 10 of its points from Appling, Payne and Dawson and only had five players score. But a 41-32 edge in rebounds gave the Spartans just enough to bounce back from the 79-65 loss to North Carolina that knocked them out of the No. 1 spot in the poll.
The Golden Grizzlies grabbed a 20-12 lead and took full advantage of the Spartans’ sloppiness. Oakland had four assists on its first five baskets, while Michigan State was recording one assist and committing seven turnovers.
When the Spartans began to dominate the boards, they began to draw closer and overcame 11 first-half turnovers. A jump hook from Payne tied it at 27 before the Golden Grizzlies took a 31-30 halftime lead.
Michigan State grabbed a 35-31 lead early in the second half on two jumpers by Appling, who scored eight points in 5 minutes after a three-point first half. But Oakland wouldn’t go away.
The Golden Grizzlies led 45-44 when Payne was fouled on an offensive rebound. His free throws and lob dunk put the Spartans back ahead 48-47. But Bader’s third 3 in 10 attempts tied the game at 50 with 7:44 to play.
A 3 by Appling 3 and a turnover by Bader helped Michigan State take a five-point lead, its largest of the day. A turnover by Bader and a layup and free throw by Appling built the lead to 58-50 and seemed to create some daylight.
Oakland responded with a 3-pointer and a three-point play from Mondy to chop the lead in half at 60-56 with 2:42 left. But Travis Trice hit a 3 at the end of the shot clock to give the Spartans a seven-point lead.
The Golden Grizzlies needed a good game from long range to pull the upset and finished 8 for 27 beyond the arc. When Michigan State regrouped in the second half and finished with a .421-.383 edge in accuracy from the field, Oakland was a couple of shots short.
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