November 13, 2012

Michigan State edges KU

It was the tight, closely contested game everyone thought it would be, but Keith Appling and No.21 Michigan State (1-1) came back to edge No. 7 Kansas (1-1) in the final minutes Tuesday night, 67-64.

The Champions Classic is built around four of the top programs in the country and if you are a fan of any of the four teams, or just a fan in general, you want to see great college basketball.

Tuesday night fans saw just that. Keith Appling and Michigan State came back from eight-down late in the second half and survived a game-tying three from Kansas' Travis Releford to take home a three-point win.

Appling and freshman star Gary Harris were phenomenal in the second half against the Jayhawks, who played significantly better in their second game of the season and gave several signs of how good they can become by the end of the season in the loss.

Elijah Johnson took the game over for Kansas, scoring 16 points and making big shot after big shot to keep the Spartans at bay.

The senior guard got away with a late non-call which led to a Ben McLemore And-1 play to bring Kansas within 1 with a minute to go, but a big-time lay up from Appling and a miss at the buzzer from Releford sealed the deal.

The game was more of a slow-it-down Big 10 game than it was a run-and-gun, which possibly played more into the hands of MSU, however, Kansas is perfectly comfortable slowing the game down and playing a physical game.

Kansas hit 50-percent of its shots from the field while the Spartans hit 52-percent. The Jayhawks were slightly better from three, hitting 44-percent compared to 40-percent from Michigan State.

For the Jayhawks, Johnson and McLemore combined for 30 of Kansas' 64 points and no other player had more than eight for KU.

Appling led all scorers with 19-16 in the second half-while Harris finished with 18 for the Spartans.

Both teams had their moments during the game. Kansas played good defense for the most part, coming up unlucky down the stretch on several plays. Jamari Traylor blocked a shot down low which trickled out to an open Appling who knocked down the shot to really change the momentum for State.

Kansas also suffered through several late turnovers which led to empty possessions during a stretch where Michigan State scored on 6-of-7 of its offensive possessions.

Kansas travels back to Lawrence to take on Chattanooga on Thursday in Allen Fieldhouse.

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