Jayhawks surrender leads, fall to Michigan State 79-73 in Chicago

CHICAGO -- Denzel Valentine had 29 points, 12 rebounds and 12 assists and the senior guard took over the game for No. 13 Michigan State in the second half as the Spartans beat No. 4 Kansas 79-73 at the Champions Classic on Tuesday night at United Center.

Kansas (1-1) had a 13-point lead twice in the first half, the last time at 28-15 with 6:16 to go. Michigan State (2-0) was within 41-35 at halftime but the Jayhawks again opened the lead to double figures at 61-50 with 9:42 to go on a long layup by Frank Mason III.

Valentine, who had career highs in points and assists, then scored seven points in a 12-1 run to tie the game at 62 with 6:08 to play.

There were six lead changes the rest of the way and it was Valentine who put the Spartans ahead for good at 72-71 on a drive with 1:29 left.

Valentine's understudy in the comeback was freshman guard Matt McQuaid, who scored six of his nine points on two 3s in the final 3:54 and then came up with a huge blocked shot of Mason in the final minute.

Valentine had 13 points, eight rebounds and nine assists in the Spartans' opener against Florida Atlantic.

Perry Ellis led the Jayhawks with 21 points, Mason added 14 and Wayne Selden Jr. had 12.

No. 2 Kentucky beat No. 5 Duke 74-63 in the first game of the doubleheader.


Kansas: The Jayhawks were outrebounded 45-25 but they had the advantage on the offensive glass 12-10. ... Ellis was 9 for 18 from the field while the rest of the starters were 10 for 37.

Michigan State: Valentine's 12 assists matched Kansas' total for the game. ... The Spartans struggled from 3-point range in the first half (3 of 10) but they rallied in the second half to make 6 of 11. ... Michigan State had eight blocked shots to Kansas' one. In their win over Florida Atlantic the Spartans had 12 blocks.


This was the second time Kansas and Michigan State met in the five years of the Champions Classic. The Spartans beat the Jayhawks 67-64 in 2012 in Atlanta.

It's already set that Duke and Kansas will meet in next year's Champions Classic at Madison Square Garden.


Since 1997-98, when Michigan State started its run of 18 consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances, the Spartans have played 199 games against ranked opponents. That's the most of any team that appeared in the Final Four since then and they are followed by North Carolina (182), Texas (173), Duke (173) and Kentucky (170).


Kansas: Meets Chaminade in the first round of Maui Invitational on Nov. 23.

Michigan State: Hosts Arkansas-Pine Bluff on Friday.