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Junior combo guard Keith Appling scored 12 points in the final 10 minutes and 42 seconds of regulation, including the last five points of the game for the No. 21 Michigan State Spartans, in their 67-64 comeback victory over the No. 7 Kansas Jayhawks in the Champions Classic at the Georgia Dome.
Appling is the clear leader of this Michigan State team and will be the Spartans' go-to player late in games given his ability as a shooter and a slasher.
As for the rest of the Spartans, they are still very much a work in progress. The talent is all there with Branden Dawson back in the lineup at full strength, true freshman shooting guard Garry Harris, Appling and two very different big men in Adreian Payne and Derrick Nix, but the chemistry is lagging.
Not that this is a bad thing for Michigan State, who have consistently played their best basketball around NCAA tournament time under head coach Tom Izzo, but it is clear this team will not look great offensively until we get closer Big Ten conference play.
The Spartans had 15 turnovers in the win against Kansas, and many of them were unforced errors.
Once Michigan State gets everyone on the same page, the Spartans are going to be a force to be reckoned with in the Big Ten.