East Lansing, MI (SportsNetwork.com) - Keith Appling poured in a game-high 27 points and added eight assists and five rebounds to lead fifth-ranked Michigan State to a 101-48 win over New Orleans.
Gary Harris had 19 points, nine rebounds, five assists and five steals for Michigan State (11-1), which has won four straight. Adreian Payne scored 17 points and grabbed seven rebounds, while Denzel Valentine added 10 points, 13 rebounds and six assists.
"Really proud of the way Keith played today. As I said, he has a double-double if we make a couple more shots," said Michigan State coach Tom Izzo about Appling. "Those eight assists and one turnover, guarding very well, hitting his 3s, getting in the lane, getting fouled, and doing all that with only 10 shots being taken is very efficient.
"I think the reason for it, No. 1 he's really played well most of the year. I think the game has slowed down and I think he's looked at the game more who can I get the ball to and it just kind of opened up everything else.
"It's been amazing. Really happy for Keith because he works at it, he's a tough, tough kid; spends a lot of time in here, and he's starting to get some of the benefits that all that hard work has done for him."
Matt Derenbecker netted 16 points and Cory Dixon contributed 11 points and seven rebounds for the Privateers (3-5), who had a two-game win streak snapped.
New Orleans coach Mark Slessinger said Appling is "undersold."
"Being from the Midwest, I'm still a little bit of a Big Ten junkie. I still secretly sneak watching Big Ten stuff," said Slessinger. "I think he has always been a little underrated on the national scene. We didn't stop him in transition and we couldn't make quick decisions.
"He played a very, very efficient game today. We didn't contain him when we needed to and he got to the free throw line. His size and strength was key against our smaller guards."
The Privateers led or remained within four points in the first 10-plus minutes. But the Spartans appeared to wake up and put 12 straight through the twine to go ahead 21-10.
Michigan State, starting with around six minutes left in the first, again netted 12 unanswered points to take a 40-21 lead and headed into the half with a 44-27 advantage.
Payne scored six straight for the Spartans for a 66-38 lead. After a Dixon jumper with 8:58 to play, Michigan State scored 21 unanswered to make it 89-42.
It was smooth sailing to the finish through the final four minutes for the Spartans.
Michigan State opens Big Ten play at Penn State on Tuesday ... The Privateers face Southland foe Nicholls State on Thursday ... The Spartans went 16-of-24 from the foul line, while New Orleans went 3-of-10 from the charity stripe ... Michigan State outrebounded New Orleans 54 to 31 ... The Spartans have won 75 of their last 77 non-conference home games.