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December 28, 2011EAST LANSING - Neither Tom Izzo nor Tom Crean were happy with the lopsided runs both teams fell victim to Wednesday night. But they were both impressed by one thing in particular: Keith Appling.
Appling had a career-high 25 points, seven assists, six rebounds, a steal and a highlight block in Michigan State's 80-65 win over No.13 Indiana (12-1).
Of course, Izzo had a list of what needs improvement in his sophomore point guard to go along with any praise, but that's his job. He left the accolades to the other guy.
"There's experience and there's youth, and the combination of the combination of the two really comes down to how your leadership is and how your older guys lead your younger guys," Crean said. "Without knowing him I would assume Draymond Green does a good job of that.
"The guy that plays like he's a serious veteran is Keith Appling, he played like that tonight. He's been doing that. I think he's a product of getting all those opportunities, and minutes and starts from last year. He played like an elite level guard."
Ten opener against Indiana
Appling's 18 points in the second half helped spark a 20-0 run for the Spartans, whose first half fire had seemingly burnt out.
"I give Indiana credit, they made some big shots," Izzo said. "They bounced back and came back. Then they went on a 36-11 or something run.
"The second half, we just weren't really good. We looked like we were out of gas. Draymond was struggling a little bit, and then App got it going a bit.
Michigan State (12-2, 1-0) now heads on the road to take on Nebraska on New Years Eve day in Lincoln.