Keith Appling scored 19 points to help sluggish Michigan State survive a scare and beat Louisiana-Lafayette 63-60 on Sunday.
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 for the No. 15 Spartans (5-1).
He also had help from several teammates. Branden Dawson scored 11 points and Brandan Kearney had a career-high 10 off the bench. Adreian Payne had 10 rebounds.
Elfrid Payton had 20 points for the Ragin' Cajuns (2-4). Shawn Long added 16 points, and Kevin Brown had 14. But Louisiana-Lafayette shot just 11 of 21 from the foul line, which may have cost it a major upset.
Payton missed a contested 3 in the closing seconds that would have tied it, and the Ragin' Cajuns' rally from a 10-point deficit fell short. Michigan State helped Louisiana-Lafayette get back in the game by committing 14 of its 20 turnovers in the second half.
Appling's two free throws put the Spartans up 60-50 with 3:09 left. But more Michigan State miscues kept the outcome in doubt.
Brown hit a 3-pointer with 1:42 to go to pull the Ragin' Cajuns within four. Then his putback after another turnover cut the deficit to 62-60 with 56.3 seconds remaining.
Michigan State led 33-27 at halftime behind eight points from Kearney, one more than his previous career high.
The Spartans have won 65 of their last 66 non-conference home games and haven't lost at home in November since a defeat by David Robinson-led Navy 26 years ago.