Keith Appling still felt like a freshman but didn't play like one in another Michigan State comeback Saturday.

Appling scored 19 points, including a go-ahead 3-pointer and two key free throws, as the Spartans rallied for a 71-67 win over Northwestern, their second overtime triumph in four days.

"Appling is really starting to raise his game," Michigan State coach Tom Izzo said.

Appling was 6 for 11 from the field and 5 for 8 from 3-point range on the floor where he scored 49 points to set a state finals record his junior year at Detroit Pershing High.

"Ha," Appling said. "It kind of felt that way for a while. Every shot went in. My confidence grew higher and higher. And the 3 in overtime was kind of a dagger."

The Spartans (12-5, 4-1 Big Ten) got 18 points from Kalin Lucas and 16 points and eight rebounds from Draymond Green, who also hit all 10 of his free throws.

"Lucas really blew by some people," Izzo said. "And Draymond rebounded, made his free throws and had some good passes that led to good passes. If we had hockey assists, he'd have had a field day."

Michigan State, the worst team in the league at the foul line, was 24 for 28 from the free-throw line. And none were bigger than Appling's pair that put his team up 69-65.

"Coach told me three years ago that freshmen have to play like sophomore by this point," Lucas said. "That's what Keith did today. He has been growing on defense all along. Today, he shot the same way."

The Wildcats (11-5, 2-4) were led by Drew Crawford with 16 points and Michael Thompson with 15 points and five assists. But that wasn't enough to pull off the upset, despite leads of eight points late in the first half, five points at the break and three points early in overtime.

"They stopped us," Northwestern coach Bill Carmody said. "They weren't playing great but found a way to win. ... It's a tough one to take, especially on the road."

Wildcats star John Shurna, who was averaging 20.1 points, was held to six points on 2-for-10 shooting, thanks largely to the defense of Delvon Roe.

"I forced a couple of shots, but they did a great job defensively," said Shurna, who was 1 for 11 from the field in a 65-62 loss to the Spartans 12 days earlier. "Delvon was so active. And we still could've won, but we're not playing to come close."

Michigan State seems to do that a lot. Coupled with a 64-61 win over Wisconsin, their first overtime win at home in 10 years, the Spartans had their first back-to-back home victories in OT in school history.

The formula was familiar. Michigan State scored just 22 points in the first half of a comeback win over visiting Minnesota and had just 20 at the break before scoring the last 13 points in regulation and eventually edging the Badgers.

The Spartans had 10 turnovers in the first half and trailed the Wildcats 23-18 at halftime. Slumping Durrell Summers was scoreless in the first 20 minutes and finished with just four points.

"It's a good thing we're living right, that's all I can say," Izzo said of the 1,500th win in school history. "I thought in the first five minutes, a lot was said. Our energy level was the best it has been. I don't have many complaints except our shooting (26.1 percent in the first half). If the ball had gone in the basket, it would've really looked pretty today."