Sports

No. 2 Michigan State avoids upset, holds off Columbia 62-53 in final minutes

  • Michigan State's Adreian Payne (5) dunks over Columbia's Luke Petrasek during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game Friday, Nov. 15, 2013, in East Lansing, Mich. (AP Photo/Al Goldis)

    Michigan State's Adreian Payne (5) dunks over Columbia's Luke Petrasek during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game Friday, Nov. 15, 2013, in East Lansing, Mich. (AP Photo/Al Goldis)  (The Associated Press)

  • Columbia's Maodo Lo (12) drives between Michigan State's Keith Appling, left, and Gary Harris during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game Friday, Nov. 15, 2013, in East Lansing, Mich. (AP Photo/Al Goldis)

    Columbia's Maodo Lo (12) drives between Michigan State's Keith Appling, left, and Gary Harris during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game Friday, Nov. 15, 2013, in East Lansing, Mich. (AP Photo/Al Goldis)  (The Associated Press)

Adreian Payne scored 26 points and No. 2 Michigan State avoided a stunning upset Friday night, holding off Columbia 62-53 in the final minutes.,

The Spartans (3-0) beat top-ranked Kentucky earlier in the week, and they'll have a chance to move to the top of next week's AP Top 25, but only after trailing for a majority of the second half against the poised, patient Lions (1-2).

Maodo Lo had 12 points for Columbia.

Michigan State scored the game's first nine points, but the Spartans trailed 26-22 at halftime and didn't lead again until Gary Harris' three-point play put Michigan State ahead 49-46 with 7:28 to go.

The Spartans held Columbia without a field goal for the final 4:27.

Columbia's Meiko Lyles made a 3-pointer with 6:08 to go to tie it at 51, and the Lions trailed 54-53 after a layup by Alex Rosenberg, but they didn't score again.

Down 55-53, Columbia committed back-to-back shot clock violations. The Lions may have been thrown off by the Michigan State crowd, which was counting the clock down falsely — a couple seconds too late.

Still, Columbia had a chance to tie it with 1:47 to go, but Isaac Cohen missed the front end of a one-and-one. At the other end, Keith Appling drove into the teeth of the Columbia defense and lobbed an alley-oop to Payne that made it 57-53.

Michigan State hasn't been No. 1 in the AP poll since 2001, the year after the Spartans won the national championship.

The Spartans were obviously in danger of a letdown after beating top-ranked Kentucky earlier in the week, but they appeared to avoid that when they opened the game on a 9-0 run.

But perhaps the game was a little too easy for Michigan State at the start. The Spartans ended up shooting 35 percent in the first half, and Columbia got comfortable quickly.

Rosenberg's layup capped a 9-0 run for the Lions that put them ahead 14-11, and Michigan State had a hard time shaking them after that.

Payne had 11 rebounds and shot 9 of 15 from the field. The Spartans attempted 30 free throws to Columbia's 11, but although they had some success inside in the second half, they finished 0 of 7 from 3-point range.

Harris scored 11 points and Denzel Valentine had 10.

Cohen and Rosenberg had 10 points each for the Lions.