Branden Dawson tipped in a miss with less than six seconds left, and the No. 2 Spartans hung on for a 78-74 victory over top-ranked Kentucky and its latest cast of phenoms in the first game of the Champions Classic on Tuesday night.
"We want to be No. 1 at the end of the season," Keith Appling said. "Not the beginning."
Keep playing like this and the Spartans (2-0) are sure to be in the conversation come the end of March.
Kentucky, too. After trailing by as much as 13 in the second half, looking like the freshmen most of them are, the Wildcats (2-1) showed why there's so much hype surrounding them. Julius Randle almost beat the Spartans single-handedly, scoring 23 of his 27 points in the second half and making a jumper with 42 seconds left that cut Michigan State's lead to 76-74.
But Dawson tipped in a miss by Denzel Valentine, and James Young missed a 3-pointer at the buzzer.
No. 5 Kansas 94, No. 4 Duke 83 • Andrew Wiggins scored 16 of his 22 points in the second half, outplaying Jabari Parker down the stretch and helping Kansas knock off Duke.
Parker, a former prep star at nearby Simeon High School, had 27 points, nine rebounds and three steals in a spectacular homecoming. But it was his fellow freshman star who made the biggest plays in the final minutes of a taut thriller between two storied programs.
Wiggins drained a step-back jumper to give the Jayhawks an 85-81 lead with 1:33 to go, and then had a fast-break dunk after a steal by Perry Ellis. Wiggins held his arms out and yelled after the big jam.
Ellis finished with 24 points, and Wiggins also had 10 rebounds for the Jayhawks.
Tuesday's Top 25 scores
• No. 2 Michigan State 78, No. 1 Kentucky 74
• No. 3 Louisville 97, Hofstra 69
• No. 5 Kansas 94,No. 4 Duke 83
• No. 7 Michigan 93, South Carolina State 59
• No. 8 Oklahoma State 93, Utah Valley 40
• No. 9 Syracuse 89, Fordham 74
• No. 10 Ohio State 79, Ohio 69
• No. 20 Wisconsin 59, No. 11 Florida 53
• No. 14 VCU 59, No. 25 Virginia 56
• No. 16 Wichita State 66, Western Kentucky 49
• No. 17 Marquette 114, Grambling State 71
• No. 23 Baylor 66, South Carolina 64
• No. 24 UCLA 91, Oakland 60