Michigan State Coach Tom Izzo is tiring of his team’s giving spirit over the holidays.
The No. 15 Spartans (5-1) committed 20 turnovers, 14 in the second half, and survived a 63-60 scare from Louisiana-Lafayette at home Sunday.
“I think our guys are going to be great citizens when they get done with basketball, because the Christmas season is lasting all year,” Izzo said. “They’re giving gifts away.”
Keith Appling scored 19 points and helped his team hang on for its fifth straight win. Appling, who has scored at least 17 points in every game except one this season, was 4 for 11 from the field. But he made other plays at key times, hitting 10 free throws and adding six rebounds and five assists.
“We have to change our mind-set and know that we have to take care of the ball,” Appling said. “Once the Big Ten season starts, those turnovers will lead to large deficits that we probably won’t be able to overcome.”
Appling had help from several teammates. Branden Dawson had 11 points, and Brandan Kearney scored a career-high 10 off the bench. Adreian Payne had 10 rebounds.
Elfrid Payton had 20 points for the Ragin’ Cajuns (2-4). Louisiana-Lafayette made just 11 of 21 from the foul line, which may have cost it a major upset.
“I don’t like the way our team is at all,” Izzo said. “I’m just trying to figure how much of it is due to our preparation or lack thereof with the guys who are injured. But that doesn’t have anything to do with some of my key guys’ turning it over four or five times, starting in the first minute of the game.”