On Thursday, Michigan State point guard Keith Appling told the media that his biggest satisfaction stemming from the Spartans’ 67-64 victory over No. 7 Kansas on Tuesday was just that simple: It was a victory.
That night, though, you’d have been hard-pressed to find many college basketball-related tweets on twitter that didn’t mention the tremendous game Appling had for the Spartans. Scoring 19-points and playing with a ferocious tenacity down into the final moments, Appling helped to ease some of the concern and worries after Michigan State’s opening loss to UConn in Germany.
As for Appling himself concerning the boom of internet-based coverage for his performance Tuesday night, well, the young star admits he’s not as “trendy” as some might think.
“I’m not really an Internet guy,” Appling told reporters on Thursday. “I don’t have Twitter, I don’t have Instagram. I’m not into that. I’m just glad we were able to win the basketball game. That was my main focus.”
Many MSU fans turned on ESPN’s “SportsCenter” that night and saw Appling’s incredible drive to the basket in the match up’s final moments to help seal the win for the Spartans in the top 10 plays segment. Shown as the No. 4 overall clip in a day known as the State Farm Champions Classic that held many incredible games, including Duke and Kentucky, Appling’s amazing performance helped to elevate the Spartans back to a level they hoped to be at after a heartbreaking opening loss to UConn.
“I did some similar things in high school,” Appling said of the final drive. “But like I said, I was just trying to make plays to get us over the hump and win the game, that was my focus the whole second half.
“Of course it would be a confidence builder for anybody to make those shots in the game, but mainly it makes Coach (Tom Izzo) have more trust in me late in the game and put the ball in my hands.”
When all is said and done, Appling still sees himself as the same player he was a year ago under former superstar Draymond Green. The humble point guard was no doubt happy to have helped his team earn the win, but in the end, it’s all about consistency and drive.
“I wouldn’t say I’m really different,” Appling said. “I was lucky enough that I made some shots and made some plays down the stretch.”
Michigan State will host Texas Southern on Sunday in East Lansing as they look to continue upon their winning ways.
You can follow MSU Examiner, Michael Ferro, at twitter.com/Michael Ferro.