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Appling-led Michigan St. rallies past Illinois

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Michigan State's Adreian Payne dunks against Illinois during the first half Thursday in East Lansing, Mich. (AP Photo/Al Goldis)

EAST LANSING, Mich. – Keith Appling led a pivotal run early in the second half and finished with 24 points and seven assists to help No. 13 Michigan State beat Illinois, 80-75, on Thursday night.

The Spartans (18-4 overall, 7-2 Big Ten) scored the first 14 points of the second half to take their first lead.

The Fighting Illini (15-7, 2-6) lost for the fifth time in six games. They had a chance to be the first team with four wins over currently ranked teams.

Illinois started strong and responded to rallies with shots and stops in the first half. Michigan State played with a lot of energy in the second half. Appling alternated making shots and setting up teammates to score in helping turn a 10-point deficit into a 41-37 lead.

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