Keith Appling had 22 points, seven assists, five rebounds and three steals to lead No. 15 Michigan State to a 74-70 win over Boise State on Tuesday.
"Keith Appling was the man," Michigan State head coach Tom Izzo said. "He's done it the old fashioned way and worked his way in. Now there is no question or doubt in his mind for why we push him like we do. He played for forty minutes."
Denzel Valentine had 12 points while Branden Dawson and Adreian Payne chipped in with 10 points each for the Spartans (3-1), who will face Oakland on Friday.
Derrick Marks poured in a game-high 24 points and Mikey Thompson had 14 points, five rebounds and three assists off the bench for the Broncos (3-1), who will host UC-Santa Barbara on Saturday.
"They have so many great players. Michigan State is one of the programs that I have always respected and one of the best programs in the country," said Boise State coach Leon Rice. "Coach Izzo and his staff do everything the right way and that is why I wanted to have my guys come see it. The atmosphere is the right way, it is a great college atmosphere and their players play the right way"
Boise State trailed 56-50 with 11 minutes left but used an 11-0 run to go up 61-56. Michigan State quickly cut it to 61-60 before taking a 66-62 lead on Appling's fast break slam.
Marks pulled the Broncos within 66-64 with just over three minutes remaining, but Valentine recorded a three-point play to give the Spartans a 69-64 lead.
Boise State converted on four straight free throws to make it 70-68 with 42 seconds left, but Appling answered with a three-point play to give the Spartans a 73-68 lead with 15 seconds left.
Thompson added a quick bucket to make it a three-point game, and Appling split a pair of free throws to put Michigan State in the driver's seat with a 74-70 lead and just eight seconds remaining.
Jeff Elorriaga's 3-pointer missed and the Spartans held on for the win.
The Broncos held a 22-13 lead following Thompson's trey at the 8:35 mark but Michigan State closed the first half on a 25-10 run to take a 38-32 lead into the break.
Michigan State won the only previous meeting between these two teams, taking a 71-59 decision in Boise on Nov. 29, 1982 ... The Spartans scored a season-high 74 points.