MSU survives Boise State’s upset bid
by Joe Rexrode, USA TODAY Sports
EAST LANSING — This was not your typical November snoozer at Breslin Center, that was clear seconds into Tuesday’s game when Michigan State’s Gary Harris left for good with a left shoulder injury.
It was starting to look like an upset when Boise State went on a 7-0 run – aided by four free throws off a Derrick Nix foul for elbowing and Tom Izzo technical foul – to lead 61-56 with eight minutes left in the game.
And it sounded like February in Breslin, late in a Big Ten thriller, when Keith Appling followed up a tough running bank shot with a steal and fast-break dunk to give his team a 66-62 lead.
The No. 19 Spartans did not trail again, though it took subsequent three-point plays from Appling (22 points) and freshman Denzel Valentine to seal a 74-70 Tuesday night escape of the persistent Broncos.
And then attention turned to the bigger question: Will Harris, MSU’s freshman shooting guard and leading scorer, be OK? Izzo, visibly upset about the situation, did not have optimism to relay.
“Not good,” he said. “Don’t know what it is yet. He’ll have an MRI tomorrow. But he’ll be out for a while.”
Pressed on the matter, Izzo said Harris – who took a hard hit on a pick that Izzo said was illegal – will be out a couple weeks with a sprain in the best-case scenario.
The worse-case scenario is that Harris will be out “a lot, lot, lot, lot, lot, lot, lot longer,” Izzo said.
If he needs shoulder surgery, this could be a season ender and a huge shot to MSU’s lofty aspirations.
And if Tuesday’s game showed anything – other than the fact that Boise State (3-1) is a pretty solid mid-major team – it was the fact that MSU (3-1) needs Harris and backup point guard Travis Trice on the floor to play its best basketball.
Trice missed his third straight game with a concussion. MSU was able to beat No. 7 Kansas without him last week, but the combined absence of those two left the Spartans strapped on the perimeter against a small team.