EAST LANSING, Mich. -- Coach Tom Izzo and No. 13 Michigan State seemed a bit run down. At the start, anyway.
Keith Appling scored 13 points and the Spartans used a big run in the first half to romp past undermanned Nicholls State 84-39 Saturday.The game brought an end to a two-week streak that often left the Spartans with just a day to get ready."We needed a game like this," Izzo said. "This one-day prep thing has been a joke."Michigan State (6-2) led 10-9 eight minutes into the game before outscoring the Colonels 27-4 during the rest of the opening half. Denzel Valentine had five points during the run."I just felt we had to bring some energy," Valentine said. "I think we improved and it showed on the court."Michigan State gets a bit of a break before Wednesday's visit from Arkansas-Pine Bluff."Two days to prepare will seem like an eternity to this team," Izzo said.Nicholls State (1-3) was missing three starters because of injuries or illness. Coach J.P. Piper had only eight players to work with."We're sorry we weren't able to put a more competitive team on the floor today," he said, stifling a cold of his own. "We're obviously decimated by injuries and sickness."The Spartans' five-game winning streak ended Wednesday with a 67-59 loss at Miami, and they looked a bit lethargic at the outset against Nicholls State. They seemed to find their rhythm after the second TV timeout, and seven different players scored as they took a 37-13 lead at the break.Adreian Payne added 10 and 12 rebounds for Michigan State in its 13th straight nonconference home win. Gary Harris and Valentine each had 11 points and Appling had six assists.T.J. Carpenter fouled out with 11 points for the Colonels. JaMarkus Horace had 10 points for Nicholls State, 0-3 overall against Michigan State.Nicholls State made just five field goals in the first half while committing 15 turnovers, eight of them steals by the Spartans.