EditorsNote: adds new sentence in sixth graf; removes extraneous word in seventh graf
Freshman guards Quentin Grimes and Devon Dotson scored 21 and 16 points, respectively, on Tuesday as No. 1 Kansas outlasted No. 10 Michigan State 92-87 in the Champions Classic at Indianapolis.
Although Kansas coach Bill Self expressed concerns prior to the game about his freshman backcourt not being ready for such a colossal matchup, Grimes and Dotson rose to the occasion.
Grimes made six 3-pointers and Dotson added three treys as they joined Memphis transfer Dedric Lawson as new starters for the Jayhawks following their Final Four run a year ago.
Lawson struggled with his shooting touch (5 of 18) but managed a double-double with 20 points and a game-high 14 rebounds. Sophomore center Udoka Azubuike, the Jayhawks’ top returning scorer, started strong and added 17 points as Kansas built a 17-point lead in the first half.
The win was the first for Kansas in three matchups with Michigan State at the Champions Classic, which was launched in 2011-12.
Senior forward Kenny Goins (17 points, 11 rebounds) and junior point guard Cassius Winston (13 points, 11 assists) each had double-doubles for Michigan State. Joshua Langford scored a team-high 18 points.
The Spartans shot just 44.1 percent but rallied furiously at the end of the game. A 3-pointer by junior guard Kyle Ahrens made it 90-87 with 34 seconds left before Kansas closed it out.
Despite 17 first-half fouls, Kansas gained early control behind 11 points from Grimes and 10 from Azubuike. All 10 Jayhawks who entered in the first half scored.
Kansas established a 50-36 lead at the break and served notice that it is capable of claiming a 15th consecutive Big 12 title.
The Jayhawks shot 19 of 40 and used a string of nine unanswered points to go up 27-16 with 9:57 left on two straight buckets from Azubuike. Lawson snagged 11 first-half rebounds but was just 2-for-10 from the floor.
Michigan State managed assists on all its first-half baskets but went just 9 of 26 and committed nine turnovers while struggling to overcome the Jayhawks’ length. Goins posted nine points and seven boards before the break.
—Field Level Media