Game One of the 2012 Champions Classic provided historic programs with veteran playmakers, exciting premier freshmen, and a tremendous finish as the Michigan State Spartans rallied from a first half deficit to defeat the No. 7 Kansas Jayhawks 67-64.
Leading up to the Top 25 matchup the nation heard all about Jeff Withey and Derrick Nix down low but were treated to a guard frenzy as freshman Gary Harris led the Spartans with 18 points on 7 of 12 shooting, most of which came in the first half. Keith Appling, however, provided the second half burst that Kalin Lucas did three years earlier in the 2009 Sweet Sixteen matchup with Kansas.
The veteran Appling finished with 19 points, including 3-3 from beyond the arc and 4-4 from the free throw line. Bill Self's Kansas team did not have an answer for either Appling or Harris as they struggled to get in any sort of offensive flow, largely due to 16 turnovers.
Kansas will most likely fall out of the Top 10 with the loss, while Michigan State should slide back into the Top 15.
An early-season Top 25 matchup will never dramatically hurt or increase tournament resumes but a quality win for the Spartans will help significantly more than the loss for the Jayhawks.
Michigan State welcomes Texas Southern to East Lansing on November 18th while Kansas face Chattanooga at home on Thursday, November 15th.
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