5 Things to Know for Feb. 7; Payne returns as Spartans crush PSU
1. It seems like every time Tom Izzo's team is supposed to get healthier, they suffer another setback. Last night Adreian Payne returned to the lineup after missing nearly a month, but Keith Appling missed the game because his injured wrist "is just getting worse", Tom Izzo said in his pregame interview on 1240 WJIM.
The Spartans beat Penn State comfortably, 82-67. Kenny Kaminski led MSU with 19 points on 5-6 shooting behind the three-point arc. Denzel Valentine had a double-double with 11 points and 11 rebounds. Payne played 18 minutes in his first game back, scoring 12 points.
Still, health has become the central focus of this team once again. Michigan State has a huge game looming Sunday at Wisconsin, and Appling's status is still in the air. Also, it is unknown how many minutes Payne will be able to play.
2. The Red Wings got a nice win last night, beating the Florida Panthers 3-1. Pavel Datsyuk was back in the lineup after missing 14 games, and looked good getting limited ice time. Gustav Nyquist continued his hot-streak, scoring his ninth goal in his past nine games. The Wings also got goals from Daniel Alfredsson and Brian Lashoff, who put home an empty-netter.
Jimmy Howard stopped 20 of the 21 shots he faced. Detroit plays Tampa Bay Friday night, then gets 17 days off for the Olympics.
3. We have another solid slate of Mid-Michigan high school basketball games scheduled for tonight. Our featured game here on The Game 730 AM has Haslett facing DeWitt. Other games to keep an eye on are Laingsburg at Fulton, Waverly at Mason, and Grand Ledge at Jackson.
5. Michigan State sports have another busy weekend. As I said earlier, the men's basketball team travels to Wisconsin. The women's team plays at Nebraska, who is 3rd in the conference with a 6-3 record. The hockey team welcomes Ohio State to Munn for two games.