The Michigan St. Spartans overcame 20 turnovers and poor shooting to slip past the Louisiana Lafayette Ragin' Cajuns, 63-60, on Sunday in East Lansing, Mich.
Louisiana Lafayette was led by guard Elfrid Payton's 20 points and seven steals, but the underdog ultimately doomed itself with poor free throw shooting, hitting just 11 of 21 attempts. Meanwhile, the Spartans shot 42.6 percent from the floor and routinely left the door open for an upset.
The Ragin' Cajuns (2-4) jumped out to a 5-0 early lead and held it until a Michigan State (5-1) three-pointer with seven minutes left put the team ahead, 23-21. MSU led, 34-27, at the half, but Louisiana Lafayette hung around, never getting down by more than 11 points the rest of the way.
Louisiana Lafayette trailed, 63-60, on the final possession and had a chance to tie, but Payton airballed a three-pointer at the buzzer.
Keith Appling led the Spartans with 19 points and five assists. Branden Dawson added 12 points and eight rebounds. Center Adreian Payne led MSU with 10 boards, and Brandan Kearney added 10 points off the bench.