MINNEAPOLIS — This could have gotten away from Michigan State a couple times. Instead it’s just 39-38 Minnesota at the half.
The Spartans trailed 37-25 at the 5-minute mark, with Appling on the bench with two fouls. If the score had kept moving in the wrong direction a few more points, it might have been over by halftime.
Instead, minus Appling, MSU’s backcourt was exceptional, Travis Trice especially.
Trice (nine points in the first half) hit two 3s in the final 3:30 and found Denzel Valentine for an alley-oop layup. Valentine has played well, too, here late.
Other than MSU’s inability to hit a free throw (1-for-7, including two missed front ends of 1-and-1s), MSU is in decent shape.
This is a good Minnesota team, one that moves the ball well and gets to the rim. But the Spartans have a chance, thanks to Trice and Co.
Talk to you after the game. Until then, follow @graham_couch and @joerexrode on Twitter.