After playing so well in last season's NCAA tournament, Jeff Withey looked rather ordinary in the first big game of his senior season.
Michigan State took advantage.
Keith Appling scored 19 points - including two crucial baskets down the stretch - and the No. 21 Spartans used their superior guard play to upset No. 7 Kansas 67-64 on Tuesday night.
Withey, who shut down Kentucky's Anthony Davis in the national championship game last April, was essentially held to a draw by Michigan State's bulky Derrick Nix. They both scored eight points, and Nix grabbed eight rebounds to seven for Kansas' 7-footer.
''Nix is a big guy, that's for sure,'' Withey said. ''He's really strong. He's tough to guard.''
Looking to bounce back from a season-opening loss to Connecticut on the other side of the Atlantic, Michigan State turned to its top returning scorer from last season. Appling came through, knocking down one shot from beyond the 3-point arc, then another on an acrobatic drive.