Michigan State Rallies, Defeats Kansas Jayhawks In Champions Classic
Dennis Wierzbicki/USA TODAY Sports

The Kansas Jayhawks and the Michigan State Spartans faced off in the second game of the State Farm Champions Classic with identical 1-0 records following the opening weekend.

The game was a back and forth affair early, as neither team was able to maintain a lead. The Spartans held a slim 6-4 lead at the first media timeout. Kansas came out and got a small run, as by the 14:30 mark they had built up a four-point lead. The Jayhawks were able to then build a lead and maintain it, mainly thanks to a 7-0 run after the first media timeout.

The Spartans were unable to keep up with the Jayhawks, as at one point the lead was extended to nine points. Things started to change when Bryn Forbes hit a three to bring the Spartans to within eight. At the time of the final media timeout of the half, the Jayhawks had built their lead back up to eight points.

The game slowed near the end of the first half, as both teams were called for fouls, including a technical foul that was called on Michigan State’s Matt Costello. When the half ended, the Jayhawks held a 41-35 lead over the Spartans thanks to 14 points from Perry Ellis, who shot 6-11 from the field in the half.

The Spartans came out in the second half with a mission to get back into the game. They accomplished it, as by the first timeout they had trimmed the lead to just 49-46, largely thanks to Denzel Valentine who had five points in just the first four minutes of the half.

The Jayhawks then extended their lead from that point, as at the 10:00 mark of the second half they had moved the lead to nine points. The Spartans were forced to take a timeout at the 9:34 mark after they fell behind by 11 points, and seemingly lost all of the momentum.

The Spartans fought back, however, and even took the lead with 4:47 left in the second half after a three point shot that Valentine made to give them a 65-64 lead, which was their first lead since early in the first half. In the final three minutes of the game, the lead constantly changed hands and Kansas coach Bill Self was forced to take a timeout with 1:11 left in the half and his team down one.

Matt McQuaid had a massive impact in the end of the game, including a clutch block of a Frank Mason shot that created a turnover and gave the ball to Michigan State with just 45 seconds left and a four point lead. The Jayhawks pulled to within two points with 30 seconds left, but the Spartans had too much momentum and escaped with a 79-73 win.

Valentine ended the game with 29 points, 11 rebounds and 12 assists to lead all players on both teams in all three categories. Kansas, meanwhile, was led by Ellis who scored 32 points while grabbing six rebounds.

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