The No. 7 Kansas Jayhawks lost to the No. 21 Michigan State Spartans 67-64 in Atlanta, Georgia. This game was apart of the State Farm Champions Classic.
The Jayhawks led 35-32 at halftime, but Keith Appling helped lift the Spartans in the second half. He did so by hitting two big shots in crunch time. One was from beyond the 3-point arc and the other was on an acrobatic drive with seconds to go in the game.
Appling was the biggest player for Michigan State against Kansas. He led the team with 19 points and hit all three of his shots from beyond the 3-point arc. He also had three steals defensively.
The Spartans also got great performances out of Derrick Nix, Adreian Payne, and Gary Harris. Both Nix and Payne recorded eight rebounds each. Payne also had himself four blocks. Harris was second on the team with 18 points.
Jeff Withey did not play as well as he did in the season opener. He had 7 rebounds (all defensive rebounds) and two blocks, but only had 8 points. In the game, it looked like Withey just was not effective on the offensive side of the ball. He needs to take more control and take the ball to the hole with force.
Despite Withey’s performance, Kansas still got nice games out of Elijah Johnson, Ben McLemore, and Travis Releford. Johnson had a team-high 16 points along with four rebounds, two assists, and three steals. McLemore was second of the Jayhawks with 14 points while Releford led the team in steals with four.
Kansas played very well defensively despite losing by three. They had 11 steals and seven blocks as a team. They most likely would have won the game if it was not for the last second performance of Keith Appling.
Kansas’ next game will be against the Chattanooga Mocs. Chattanooga is 1-0 on the season and their last game was a win over Tennessee Temple 88-53.
Make sure to follow me on Twitter @RickyWidmer.