No. 4 Kansas Falls to No. 13 Michigan State in Champions Classic

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CHICAGO – Michigan State came back from an 11-point Kansas lead in the last 10 minutes of the game to hand KU its first loss of the season, 79-73, in the State Farm Champions Classic on Tuesday night at United Center.

No. 4 Kansas (1-1) was led by 21 points from senior forward Perry Ellis. No. 13 Michigan State (2-0) shot 53 percent and made six 3-pointers in the second half to rally past the Jayhawks.  

“It was a disappointing loss,” Bill Self said. “We had the game and let it go. I am leaving here pretty upset about our effort. We did some good things in the game – I thought our energy was good early – but we didn’t compete very well defensively down the stretch. They made us pay down the stretch.”

Spartan guard Denzel Valentine became just the second player to record a triple-double against Kansas in program history, registering 29 points, 12 rebounds, and 12 assists. The last was from former Michigan State standout – Earvin “Magic” Johnson (12 points, 10 rebounds, 11 assists) – on Feb. 4, 1979.

Kansas pushed the offensive tempo and went to its bread-and-butter early and often in the first half, feeding All-American candidate Ellis in the paint for the first two KU buckets of the game. Ellis, who made his first four shots, later showed his range by stepping back to hit a 3-pointer to cap an 11-0 Kansas run for a 13-6 lead.

Freshman forward Carlton Bragg made a jumper at the top of the key at the 6:18 mark of the first half to give KU what would turn out to be its largest lead of the game at 13 points, 28-15.

Kansas narrowly out-shot Michigan State from the field in the first half, 40- to 38-percent, but the Spartans turned the ball over 10 times to KU’s three.

Both teams exchanged free throws at the end of the first half as nine of the last 11 combined points were scored at the charity stripe. KU went into the locker room with a 41-35 halftime lead.

Senior forward Jamari Traylor, a Chicago native, came out of the locker room with a purpose.

Traylor starting the second half with a bucket in the paint and four consecutive made free throws. A loose-ball foul gave Traylor his third foul of the game, forcing Coach Self to sub him out early.

Michigan State cut KU’s deficit to three points three times in the first 10 minutes of the second half, but a 10-2 Kansas run, capped off by a steal and a fast break layup from Frank Mason III, gave the Jayhawks a seemingly comfortable 11-point lead with 9:42 remaining.  

Michigan State quickly made two 3-pointers during a 12-1 run and tied the game, 62-62, on a free throw from Valentine with 6:08 remaining.

Michigan State took its first lead since the 15:56 mark of the first half on a Valentine 3-pointer, 65-64.

There were a total of five lead changes in the final six minutes of the game, including a 3-pointer from Wayne Seldon that put KU up 71-70 with 1:52 remaining.

The Spartans closed out the final seven minutes of regulation by making a combined 12-of-13 shots from both the floor and the free throw line for a 79-73 final score.

Kansas will head to Hawaii and will face Chaminade on Monday, Nov. 23, at 8 p.m. (Central) in the Maui Jim Maui Invitational at the Lahina Civic Center in Lahina, Hawaii. The game televised on ESPNU. Kansas will face UCLA or UNLV on Nov. 24 and either Indiana, St. John’s, Vanderbilt or Wake Forest on Nov. 25.


#4/5 Kansas 79, #13/13 Michigan State 73
State Farm Champions Classic – Chicago, Ill. (United Center)
Tuesday, November 17, 2015

KU STARTERS (Season/Career Starts): Jr. G Frank Mason, III (2/41), So. G Devonte Graham (2/2), Jr. G Wayne Selden, Jr. (2/73), Sr. F Perry Ellis (2/73), Sr. F Jamari Traylor (2/21)

SERIES INFO: Michigan State leads, 7-5


• Made Kansas 1-1 for the second-straight season and sixth time in the Bill Self era at KU …
• Gave Michigan State a 7-5 series advantage against Kansas…
• Made Kansas 1-4 in the State Farms Champions Classic…
• Made Kansas 0-1 against Associated Press ranked foes this season and 10-7 versus ranked opponents over the last two years…
• Made Self 353-79 while at Kansas, 560-183 all-time and 5-7 against Michigan State…
• Made Kansas 2,154-832 all-time.
• Tonight’s game was the last of ESPN’s Tip-Off Marathon, featuring over 30 consecutive hours of basketball on the ESPN family of networks.
• In KU’s 247th game on ESPN, the Jayhawks fall to 181-66 overall and 40-16 on neutral site locations when on the network.
• MSU’s Denzel Valentine is just the second player to record a triple-double against the Jayhawks in Kansas Basketball history. The last was also a player from Michigan State – Earvin “Magic” Johnson (12 points, 10 rebounds, 11 assists) – on Feb. 4, 1979.
• Kansas turned the ball over just six times to Michigan State’s 16 turnovers.

• Senior F Perry Ellis scored 21 points on 9-of-18 shooting to reach 1,194 career points and pass Aaron Miles (2002-05; 1,183 points) on KU’s all-time scoring list at No. 36. Ellis is now 10 points behind Aaron Miles on the all-time list. Ellis sits 13 points away from passing Jacque Vaughn (1994-97; 1,207).
• Senior F Jamari Traylor returned to his hometown of Chicago, scoring six points with seven rebounds in 18 minutes of action. Traylor scored all of his six points in the first three minutes of the second half on a layup and making 4-of-4 free throws.
• Sophomore G Devonte’ Graham made his second career start and played in a career-high 38 minutes.
• Sophomore guard Brannen Greene went 6 for 6 at the free throw line and finished with six points in nine minutes of action. Through two games, Greene has only missed one shot – going 6 for 6 from the field and 7 for 8 from the free throw line.