Top-25 basketball: Michigan State finally gets past Oklahoma
New York • Keith Appling scored 27 points and No. 1 Michigan State had all it could handle from Oklahoma before pulling away in the final minutes for an 87-76 victory Saturday night in the championship game of the Coaches vs. Cancer Classic.
Appling, who was 8 of 12 from the field, scored eight points in the final 3:04 after the Sooners got within 75-71.
It was another unimpressive win for the Spartans (6-0) since their victory over then-No. 1 Kentucky moved them up one spot to the top of the poll. They beat Columbia and Portland but didn't pull away from either until the final minutes. They did handle Virginia Tech in the semifinals of this tournament but the championship game wasn't like that at all.
The Sooners (4-1) jumped ahead early, fell behind by as many as 18 points and then found a way to get within four points twice in the final 4 minutes before the Spartans were able to pull away once again.
Gary Harris had 21 points and Branden Dawson added 18 points and 10 rebounds for the Spartans, who shot 50 percent from the field (29 of 58), but they were 6 of 19 from 3-point range and 23 of 36 from the free throw line and committed 14 turnovers, five over their season average.
Cameron Clark had a career-high 32 points for Oklahoma, which kept chipping away at deficits after losing their big early lead.
Oklahoma made its first six and nine of its first 11 shots from the field and took a 22-11 lead. The Spartans took advantage when the Sooners finally cooled down and went up by as many as 14 points by dominating at both ends of the court. They closed the half by outscoring Oklahoma 34-9 over the final 9 minutes and were up 45-31 at halftime.
No. 3 Louisville 71, Fairfield 57 • At Uncasville, Conn., Chris Jones scored 15 points to lead Louisville to the victory in the Hall of Fame Tipoff Tournament.
Montrezl Harrell added 14 points and 12 rebounds for the Cardinals (5-0), who extended their winning streak to 21 games, including last season's run to the NCAA championship.
No. 23 Creighton 82, Tulsa 72 • At Omaha, Neb., Doug McDermott scored 21 of his 33 points in the second half, and Austin Chatman had a career-high 19 for Creighton. McDermott recorded his 16th career 30-point game.
• No. 1 Michigan State 87,Oklahoma 76
• No. 3 Louisville 71, Fairfield 57
• No. 11 Memphis 98, Nicholls State 59
• No. 12 Wisconsin 76, Oral Roberts 67
• No. 23 Creighton 82, Tulsa 72
• No. 24 North Carolina 82, Richmond 72
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