Keith Appling scored 19 points, including a brilliant drive with 13.5 seconds left, and No. 21 Michigan State rebounded from a season-opening loss with a 67-64 upset of No. 7 Kansas Tuesday night in the first round of the Champions Classic in Atlanta.
The Jayhawks led, 59-54, with five minutes remaining, showed signs of taking control in a game that was tight all the way. But Michigan State rebounded behind its excellent guards.
Freshman Gary Harris scored 18 points, including back-to-back baskets that sparked an 8-0 run. Down the stretch, it was all Appling.
He confused the Kansas defense playing off a screen, winding up with an open 3-pointer with 1:35 remaining that pushed Michigan State to a 65-61 lead. Ben McLemore converted a 3-point play, but Travis Releford missed a potential tying 3 at the buzzer.
Elijah Johnson led Kansas with 16 points.
Kansas center Jeff Withey, who played so well in last season’s NCAA Tournament, wasn’t much of a factor against the Spartans. He was held to 8 points and seven rebounds, and forced into four turnovers.
The big man knocked down a hook to give the Jayhawks a 5-point lead in the second half, but Michigan State scored the next 8 points before Johnson snapped the run with two free throws.
But Appling picked up a screen, darted away when Withey popped out to help, then wound up with an open look from beyond the arc when Withey turned back for the lane and got tangled up with his own man.
Appling’s shot was right on the mark, pushing the lead to 65-61.
Then, after McLemore’s 3-point play, Appling drove past Withey with a lefthanded dribble, cradled the ball, and banked in the shot between two defenders that left Kansas with no choice but to try a 3.
Michigan 77, Cleveland St. 47 — Tim Hardaway Jr. had 17 points and six rebounds, and the No. 5 Wolverines advanced to the semifinals of the NIT Season Tip-Off with a blowout of the Vikings in Ann Arbor.
Missouri 91, Alcron St. 54 — Phil Pressey scored 21 points in the Tigers’ thrashing of the Braves in Columbia, Mo.
Connecticut 67, Vermont 49 — Shabazz Napier scored 13 points and freshman Omar Calhoun added 12 as the Huskies won their first home game under new coach Kevin Ollie.
R.J. Evans chipped in 11 points on 5-of-5 shooting off the bench and Ryan Boatright handed out seven assists for Connecticut, which was playing its first home opener without legendary coach Jim Calhoun.
Luke Apfeld recorded 9 points and eight rebounds and Brian Voelkel chipped in 8 points, 5 rebounds, and 4 assists for the Catamounts (1-1), who struggled to 30 percent shooting.
Cincinnati 102, MVSU 60 —Sean Kilpatrick scored 13 of his 20 points in the second half and Cheikh Mbodj had four of Cincinnati’s seven blocks, leading the 24th-ranked Bearcats past the visiting Delta Devils.
Northeastern 67, Princeton 66 — Reggie Spencer made a go-ahead layup with two seconds to play, capping an 8-0 run as the Huskies shocked the Tigers on the road.
With the Huskies trailing, 66-59, with 2:53 to play, Spencer knocked down a free throw and then Quincy Ford drained a 3 and made a pair of free throws to pull Northeastern to 66-65.
After Princeton’s Mack Darrow missed a free throw with 11 seconds left, Spencer grabbed the rebound, then made the layup — assisted by Ford, who set a career high with 27 points.
UNH 72, Dartmouth 58 — Ferg Myrick put up 19 points and a personal-best 11 rebounds, Patrick Konan also had a double-double with 14 and 11, and the host Wildcats put away the Big Green.
Baylor 85, Kentucky 51 — Brittney Griner scored 27 points with eight rebounds and the No. 1 Lady Bears overwhelmed the sixth-ranked Wildcats in Waco, Texas.
The defending national champions have won 42 games in a row.
BC 71, Holy Cross 52 — Katie Zenevitch had a game-high 23 points with eight rebounds and Nicole Boudreau scored 22 in the Eagles’ road win over the Crusaders.
Central Conn. 78, UMass 69 — Senior Jaclyn Babe’s career-best 36 points boosted the host Blue Devils past the Minutewoman.