Spartans upset by UConn in Armed Forces Classic
RAMSTEIN AIR BASE, Germany (AP) Shabaz Napier is fairly confident that if Connecticut gets its running game going, nobody can keep up with the Huskies.
No. 14 Michigan State couldn't, falling 66-62 in the Armed Forces Classic in a hangar on the U.S. Ramstein Air Base in a game that finished at 2:30 a.m. Saturday.
Napier led all scorers with 25 points.
"We are too fast, we are a transition team and when we get going, no one can keep up with us," Napier said. "We just tried tio do what they did, transition. We got some easy rebounds, they came off the boards and we let them go."
Kevin Ollie's first game and win as the Huskies' head coach was watched by former coach Jim Calhoun, who worked as play-by-play radio commentator.
After the game, UConn players and Ollie ran and embraced Calhoun, the Hall of Famer who retired in September.
"He's always been by my side and I appreciate him so much," Ollie said. "He told me don't lay on this, build on it and continue to make them play hard. It's a great win for our program, for the new era. A lot of people could have quit but they stayed here for what Coach Calhoun built."
Ollie has been given only a one-year contract with a team that returns just five players who saw significant playing time last season.
UConn led most of the way and by as many as 16 points in the first half of the game.
"We executed the game plan and the game plan was to play hard. We stepped up to the plate, we took the challenge and we came up with a victory," Ollie said.
Keith Appling scored 17 points and Branden Dawson had 15 points and 10 rebounds for Michigan State.
Gary Harris scored to pull the Spartans to 62-60, but Denzel Valentine and Appling each missed a shot in the last minute that would have tied the game, forcing Michigan State to foul.
Napier hit four free throws in the final 13 seconds to seal the win.
Ryan Boatright had 13 points, despite rolling his ankle in the second half, and DeAndre Daniels added 12 for the Huskies.
The 14th-ranked Spartans hit just one of their first eight shots, while Connecticut made nine of its first 10, and raced out to a 20-6 lead on a 3-pointer from Napier.
A steal by Napier and a lob to Ryan Boatright made it 32-18 Huskies, who stretched that to 16. The Spartans closed the half on a 10-2 run, but trailed 40-33 at intermission.
Boatright rolled his left ankle less that 3 minutes into the second half and was hobbled the rest of the game.
The Huskies, who shot 46 percent while holding the Spartans to 40 percent, won despite being outrebounded 34-25.
"We did a very poor job of rotating players," Michigan State coach Tom Izzo said.
The Huskies, who finished last season a disappointing 20-14 a year after winning the program's third national title, are picked to finish ninth in the Big East this season and are academically ineligible for the Big East and NCAA tournaments.
This is the first season that someone other than Calhoun has been the head coach since Dom Perno coached his final game in 1986.
Three UConn players hail from Germany. Neils Giffey scored three points and Enosch Wolf had two. Leon Tolksdorf did not play.
Michigan State lost its second consecutive opener after winning 33 of its previous 34. The Spartans lost last season to North Carolina in another military tribute game, the Carrier Classic.
Updated November 10, 2012
Butch Stearns, Fred Smerlas and Steve DeOssie discuss the Patriots comeback win over Cleveland and the loss of Rob Gronkowski for the season.
The guys finish up their breakdowns on what to expect today at Gillette and give their pick for a winner.
Curran calls the boys live from Gillette to break down today's game against the Browns. He thinks Cleveland will be a much tougher opponent than most. He also gets into the Ridley situation and if the Pats will look to sign Edelman.
Eagle checks in to give Grande and Max a perspective on the Brooklyn Nets after they acquired Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett via trade earlier this summer. He breaks down what he thinks the future holds for the Nets after completing this blockbuster deal.
Sean Grande and Cedric Maxwell take some time and look back at the history between the Celtics and the Lakers, specifically the legendary rivalry between Magic and Bird. Legendary broadcaster, Ian Eagle, checks in to give the Brooklyn perspective as KG and Paul Pierce settle into their new home. Sean and Max also reveal the behind the scenes details surrounding Max’s famous “I got the ball” moment.
In the first hour of this edition of the Celtics Summer Cooler, Grande and Max analyze the trade that sent Fab Melo out of Boston. Also in this hour, Max sets the story straight about his history with Larry Bird.
Rob Bradford and Alex Speier talk with Jon Lester about contract negotiations, losing a teammate like Jacoby Ellsbury, the World Series run, and looking ahead to 2014.
Rob Bradford and Alex Speier are back witht he Hot Stove Show. They talk about Jacoby Ellsbury signing with the New York Yankees, the Red Sox signings of AJ Pierzynski and Edward Mujica, and wrap it up with Red Sox starting pitcher Jon Lester, who talks about the World Series run, losing a teammate like Ellsbury and looking towards 2014.
The Red Sox new catcher, A.J. Pierzynski, joined the show to discuss his reputation as the most hated man in baseball. He also said that he turned down multi-year deals to come and win in Boston.
Shawn Thornton joined the show and discussed the teams long layoff leading into their game tomorrow night in Montreal. He told the guys that he anticipates fighting being a part of hockey for years to come.
Lucic joins Danny Picard to talk some hockey after the team’s overtime win against the Carolina Hurricanes. Danny asks Lucic about David Krejci’s game winner yesterday and hockey outsiders that are trying to change the game.
Shawn Thornton joined the show fresh off his big night at MSG and talked about his recent goal scoring prowess. Shawn said that no matter who his line mates are he is always going to be a fourth liner.
Kirk Minihane answered any and all questions from the listeners and John and Gerry.
The New York Post's Joel Sherman joined the show with his thoughts on jacoby Ellsbury's signing with the Yankees. He said that if it were up to him he would have given the money to Robinson Cano over Ellsbury.
The top stories of the day as recounted by Kirk Minihane. They discussed how Ron Burgundy has officially jumped the shark and played sound of him on Dan Patrick.
Peter King joins Mut and Merloni to go across the NFL and address the latest news. He discusses Kubiak's firing, Tomlin's fine, and Dennard's possible suspension.
Brick makes his weekly appearance on Mut and Merloni and discusses the Bruins loss to Montreal and the hit on Johnny Boychuck.
Michael Fabiano, fantasy expert and Yankees fan, gives his opinion on the Cano signing, discusses Julian Edelman's rising fantasy value, and actually suggests starting Ryan Fitzpatrick
We check in with Herm Edwards on the Pats, Stevan Ridley, and a great many things around the NFL.
We stir up a pot of crap when we debate the world cup and the popularity of soccer... pro callers, con-callers, plus Jack Edwards!
We tackle four topics at 4PM.
Ryder talks with WEEI.com's Chris Price about the Patriots upcoming game with the Cleveland Browns, and Stevan Ridley's status on the team.
Alex joins the show and gives his thoughts on the Jacoby Ellsbury deal, and what prospects the Red Sox have to fill the hole left in the lineup, or trade pieces to get a player who can fill the void.
John talks to Rob and gets his thoughts on the Yankees signing Jacoby Ellsbury, the Red Sox signing AJ Pierzynski, and Jarrod Saltalamacchia signing with Miami.
Kirk Minihane answered any and all questions from the listeners and John and Gerry.More from this show
Peter King joins Mut and Merloni to go across the NFL and address the latest news. He discusses Kubiak's firing, Tomlin's fine, and Dennard's possible suspension.More from this show
Danny PIcard opens the show discussing the Red Sox signing of Mike Napoli and the Yankees signing of Elsbury and Beltran. Also the impact of Cano signing a huge contract in Seattle.More from this show