By Larry Lage
AP Sports Writer
EAST LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Minnesota missed out on a chance to make school history.
Keith Appling scored 24 points to help No. 5 Michigan State beat the Golden Gophers 87-75 in overtime Saturday after overcoming a double-digit deficit in the second half and blowing a lead late in regulation.
The Spartans scored the first nine points of OT, ending Minnesota’s chance to beat a top-five team on its home court for the first time.
“Anytime you go on the road in a great environment and you step up for 40 minutes and you don’t win the game, it is a bit of a missed opportunity,” coach Richard Pitino said. “But there will be plenty more.”
Minnesota’s next two home games are against Ohio State and Wisconsin, teams currently ranked No. 3 and No. 4 in The Associated Press poll, after going on the road and almost pulling off an upset.
“We did a lot of good things and some silly things,” Pitino said. “It shows the potential that we have and hopefully we showed we can compete with anybody.”
The Spartans (15-1, 4-0 Big Ten) scored 15 straight points while holding the Golden Gophers (13-4, 2-2) scoreless for nearly 8 minutes after trailing 53-43 with 15:57 left.
Michigan State missed an opportunity to win in regulation for the second straight game, losing a five-point lead in the last 13 seconds.
Minnesota’s Malik Smith made his fifth 3-pointer, Gary Harris missed two free throws with 11.3 seconds left for the Spartans and DeAndre Mathieu’s layup with 1.7 seconds left tied the game and sent it to overtime.
Pitino was glad Mathieu made the shot, but it wasn’t the one he wanted.
“I was running a play and trying to shoot a 3 to be honest with you,” Pitino said.
The Spartans were without Adreian Payne because of a sprained right foot.
“He’s probably a top-five pick,” Pitino said. “So when I heard that he wasn’t playing, I didn’t want him to be hurt, but that was a nice, pleasant surprise.”
The Spartans missed the standout senior as they barely did enough to keep winning.
Minnesota guard Austin Hollins turned the ball over with 42 seconds left and teammate Andre Hollins had an ill-advised 3-pointer blocked with 23 seconds left, trailing by three on each possession.
“We just made some bonehead plays,” Andre Hollins said.
The Gophers struggled to take care of the basketball in OT and couldn’t stop the Spartans, who haven’t lost on their home court in the series since 1997.
Andre Hollins, who scored 24 points, wasn’t satisfied by his team’s strong showing.
“We came in confident,” Andre Hollins said. “We expected to win this game. It’s not a moral victory. We have to give them a lot of credit for making their free throws.”