No. 14 Michigan State 84, Nicholls State 39: Keith Appling scored nine of his team-high 13 points in the second half as the host Spartans rebounded from their worst scoring output of the season.
Despite being demoted from the starting lineup, Adreian Payne came off the bench to collect 10 points, a team-high 12 rebounds and three of his team's seven blocks. Denzel Valentine and Gary Harris added 11 points apiece for 14th-ranked Michigan State (6-2), which shot 60 percent from the field to put Wednesday's 67-59 setback at Miami in its rear-view mirror.
After Travis Julien's layup brought Nicholls State (1-3) within seven at 20-13, the Spartans held the Colonels scoreless for the final 8:05 of the first half. Derrick Nix and Harris fueled Michigan State's 17-0 run to close the half with a layup and dunk apiece. The Spartans added an 11-2 run early in the second half to seal the victory.
T.J. Carpenter had a team-high 11 points for Nicholls State, which played without leading scorer Fred Hunter. The team did not immediately divulge the reason for sitting Hunter, who had scored at least 20 points in his last three outings.
GAME NOTEBOOK: Michigan State coach Tom Izzo elected to start Branden Dawson in favor of Payne. Dawson had eight points. ... The Spartans have won all three encounters versus Nicholls State, outscoring it by a 278-129 margin. ... The Colonels were playing the first of seven consecutive road contests. They will not compete in a home contest until the start of Southland Conference play on Jan. 3.