ATLANTA – Looking to bounce back from a season-opening loss, Michigan State turned to its top returning scorer from last season.
Keith Appling came through.
Hitting a pair of huge shots down the stretch – one from beyond the three-point arc, the other on an acrobatic drive – Appling carried the No. 21 Spartans to a 67-64 upset of No. 7 Kansas on Tuesday.
The offense was kind of stagnant, so I wanted to make a play the best way I possible could, said Appling, who led Michigan State with 19 points. From there, it was all she wrote.
The Spartans (1-1) opened with a surprising loss to Connecticut.
The Jayhawks (1-1) led 59-54 with five minutes remaining, showing signs of taking control, but Michigan State rallied.
We did some good things, Kansas coach Bill Self said. Its just that games are decided in the last five minutes. And they were better in the last five.
Freshman Gary Harris scored 18 points for the Spartans, including back-to-back baskets that sparked an 8-0 run. Appling took over from there.
No. 5 MICHIGAN 77, CLEVELAND STATE 47: In Ann Arbor, Mich., Tim Hardaway Jr. had 17 points and six rebounds, and the Wolverines advanced to the semifinals of the NIT Season Tip-Off. Nik Stauskas scored 15 points, and Trey Burke added 12 points for Michigan (3-0).
No. 14 MISSOURI 91, ALCORN STATE 54: In Columbia, Mo., Phil Pressey scored 21 points and Laurence Bowers added 14 – all in the second half – to help the Tigers (2-0) to the rout.
23 CONNECTICUT 67, VERMONT 49: In Storrs, Conn., Shabazz Napier scored 13 points and freshman Omar Calhoun added 12 to lead the Huskies (2-0).
No. 24 CINCINNATI 102, MVSU 60: In Cincinnati, Sean Kilpatrick scored 13 of his 20 points in the second half and Cheikh Mbodj had four of the Bearcats seven blocks as Cincinnati had its highest point total in nearly seven years.
No. 1 BAYLOR 85, No. 6 KENTUCKY 51: In Waco, Texas, Brittney Griner scored 27 points with eight rebounds and the Bears (2-0) overwhelmed the Wildcats (1-1).