EAST LANSING, Mich. – Michigan State earned a spot atop The Associated Press poll by beating then-top-ranked Kentucky last week.
The Spartans will have to play much better to stay No. 1 in college basketball.
Keith Appling matched a career high with 25 points to help Michigan State pull away to beat Portland 82-67 on Monday night in its first game as a top-ranked team in 13 seasons.
I think it will be good for us in the end, Izzo said. Nobody has to worry about us peaking in November.
The Spartans (4-0) struggled in the first half, leading by four points after seven lead changes and three ties.
Travis Trices 3-pointer broke a tie with 12:26 left and he followed that up seconds later with a steal and layup. Gary Harris made a 3-pionter – the teams 11th from behind the arc – midway through the second half that put Michigan State ahead by 10 points for the first time.
The big thing was our energy level, Appling said. Thats where we were lacking in the first half. Once we picked that up, everything was good.
The Pilots (1-2) were balanced on offense with Kevin Bailey leading the way with 12 points.
This early in the season, I love that were coming to a place that you know theyre playing basketball a certain way and theyre doing things right: selfish, tough and with passion, Portland coach Eric Reveno said. We can take that away and know we can compete.
No. 6 DUKE 91, UNC ASHEVILLE 55: In Durham, N.C., Jabari Parker had 21 points and 10 rebounds, and Rodney Hood had 15 of his 18 points in the first half to lead the Blue Devils (3-1) in the opening round of the NIT Season Tip-Off.
No. 9 SYRACUSE 56, ST. FRANCIS BROOKLYN 50: In Syracuse, N.Y., Jerami Grant scored 13 points, including a tying follow with 1:43 left, and set up the go-ahead basket by Michael Gbinije in the final minute for the Orange (4-0) in an opening-round game of the Maui Invitational.
No. 16 FLORIDA 67, SOUTHERN 53: In Gainesville, Fla., Casey Prather had 10 points and nine rebounds for for the Gators (3-1), who lost point guard Kasey Hill to an ankle injury.
BALL STATE 87, SOUTHEAST MISSOURI STATE 83: In Muncie, Chris Bond scored 20 points, including the go-ahead dunk in the second half, to lift the Cardinals (2-1).
WRIGHT STATE 83, MANCHESTER 33: In Dayton, the Spartans (0-3) fell behind 19-4 at the outset and never came close. Silas Sims scored 12 points to lead Manchester, which trailed 50-17 at halftime.
No. 9 BAYLOR 79, RICE 46: In Waco, Texas, Odyssey Sims scored 33 points as the Bear (3-0) extended their nations-best home winning streak to 60 games.
OKLAHOMA STATE 74, IDAHO
STATE 45: In Stillwater, Okla., Liz Donohoe scored 12 points and hit 3 of 3 shots from behind the 3-point line to lead the Cowgirls.
IPFW 79, SOUTHERN ILLINOIS 62: The Mastodons won big in the Gates Center behind Amanda Hydes 24 points, Haley Seiberts 19 and Ariana Simmons 11.
The Mastodons shot 52 percent and 55.5 in the second half, when they expanded an 11-point halftime lead by outscoring Southern Illinois 41-33.
They outscored the Salukis 20-8 at the free throw line.
INDIANA 80, CENTRAL ARKANSAS 53: In Bloomington, Larryn Brooks scored 15 points, Nicole Bell 11 and Sasha Chaplin 10 to lead the Hoosiers, who led 39-25 at halftime and never looked back. Central Arkansas shot just 32.1 percent.