Boise State Broncos guard/forward Anthony Drmic (3) drives past Michigan State Spartans center Adreian Payne (5) during the 1st half at Jack Breslin Students Events Center. (Mike Carter-US PRESSWIRE)
EAST LANSING (DETROIT FREE PRESS) -- No. 15 Michigan State lost its leading scorer seconds into tonight's game against Boise State -- and found itself battling to avoid a shocking upset until the final seconds.
The Spartans survived, 74-70, thanks to late heroics from junior guard Keith Appling. Appling gave MSU the lead for good with a bank shot and breakaway dunk, then sealed the game with a driving three-point play with 15 seconds left and another free throw.
He scored 22 points. Freshman Denzel Valentine had 12 for MSU (3-1), including a key three-point play that fouled out Boise State's Derrick Marks (24 points).
There was no immediate word on the status of MSU leading scorer and freshman guard Gary Harris, who was hit on the left shoulder early in the game and did not return. Harris went to the locker room for evaluation in the first half, then returned and watched the rest of the game from the bench.
Furthermore, MSU had a special guest: Magic Johnson tweeted Monday night that he's taking a trip to Michigan for Thanksgiving and that he "can't wait" to see MSU basketball play.
He later received a standing ovation when shown on the big screen at the Breslin Center.
Things remained closes up to the 9:19 mark, when Derrick Nix rebounded a Boise State miss, but nailed two different opponents with swinging elbows. After a long delay, the officials ruled Nix was fouled by Marks, but that Nix committed a dead ball technical foul. Then, during the explanation, MSU coach Tom Izzo was hit with a tech for throwing his clipboard. Marks made all four free throws.
Then during the same possession, MSU was whistled for two different personal fouls and Darrious Hamilton split a pair of free throws. Marks then came up with a steal and layup to complete the 11-0 run.
Contact Joe Rexrode: 313-222-2625 or email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @joerexrode. Check out his MSU blog at freep.com/heyjoe.