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MSU new #1 in college basketball, tops Portland 82-67 at the Breslin Center

Michigan State guard Gary Harris
Michigan State guard Gary Harris

EAST LANSING, MI (WTVB) - The nation’s newly crowned number one team, the Michigan State Spartans, pulled away down the stretch last night for an 82-67 win at home over Portland. Keith Appling led MSU with 25 points, going a perfect 5-for-5 from 3-point range and also dished out seven assists as the Spartans improved to 4-and-0. Adreian Payne added 19 points and Gary Harris netted 15 just hours after Michigan State was elevated into the number-one spot in the polls following last week's victory over then top-ranked Kentucky.

It’s the first time in 13 seasons that MSU has been the top ranked team in the Associated Press poll. The pesky Pilots of Portland for a while gave the Spartans all they could handle before they assumed control with a 14-4 run midway through the second half that snapped a 46-46 tie. Last night’s outcome in second round play of the Coaches vs. Cancer Classic sends MSU to Brooklyn, New York and the Barclays Center for this weekend’s championship round of the tournament with the Spartans taking on Virginia Tech in Friday night’s semi-finals.

Michigan, which was ranked seventh last week, fell to number-14 in the AP poll and to 13th place in the USA Today Coaches poll after the 2-and-1 Wolverines were upset Sunday at Iowa State.