EAST LANSING, Mich. -- 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 nonconference home games and haven't lost at home in November since a defeat by David Robinson-led Navy 26 years ago.