EAST LANSING, Mich. — Keith Appling matched a career high with 25 points to help No. 1 Michigan State pull away to beat Portland 82-67 on Monday night in its first game as a top-ranked team in 13 years.
The Spartans (4-0) struggled in the first half, leading by four points after seven lead changes and three ties.
Travis Trice’s 3-pointer broke a tie with 12:26 left and he followed that up seconds later with a steal and layup. Gary Harris made a 3-pionter — the team’s 11th from behind the arc — midway through the second half that put Michigan State ahead by 10 points for the first time.
Kevin Bailey had 12 points for the Pilots (1-2), who had a balanced offense and were pesky on defense and on the boards.
Adreian Payne scored 19 points and Harris had 15 for the Spartans.
No. 6 Duke 91, UNC Asheville 55
DURHAM, N.C. — Jabari Parker had 21 points and 10 rebounds, and Rodney Hood had 15 of his 18 points in the first half for Duke in the opening round of the NIT Season Tip-Off.
The Blue Devils (3-1) never trailed and shot 57 percent.
Duke held a 42-28 rebounding advantage, built a 20-point first-half lead and coasted to its 104th straight nonconference win at Cameron Indoor Stadium.
Sam Hughes scored 16 points for the Bulldogs (1-3). They shot 33 percent and never got closer than 18 points in the second half.
UNC Asheville was beaten soundly by its second top-10 opponent in 11 days after being routed 89-57 by then-No. 1 Kentucky.
Andre Dawkins had 13 points and Quinn Cook and freshman Semi Ojeleye added 10 apiece to help Duke improve to 23-2 in the preseason NIT.
No. 9 Syracuse 56, St. Francis Brooklyn 50
SYRACUSE, N.Y. — Jerami Grant scored 13 points, including a tying follow with 1:43 left, and set up the go-ahead basket by Michael Gbinije in the final minute for Syracuse in an opening-round game of the Maui Invitational.
Syracuse (4-0), making its first appearance in the tournament since winning it in 1998, plays its next game in Hawaii in a week against Minnesota.
The Orange closed the game on a 10-0 run, holding St. Francis scoreless for the final 4:10.
Syracuse’s last nonconference home loss was to Cleveland State on Dec. 15, 2008.
The Orange were in trouble in this one until the final 3 minutes as its top scorer struggled mightily. C.J. Fair, who came in shooting 53.3 percent and averaging 21.7 points, couldn’t buy a basket, going 2 of 13, all but one of his attempts coming from close range.
The Terriers (2-2) committed a turnover in the closing seconds and Ben Mockford threw up an airball 3 as the Orange escaped.
Dajuan Coleman matched his career high with 14 points for Syracuse.
Jalen Cannon led St. Francis with 16 points.
No. 16 Florida 67, Southern 53
GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Casey Prather had 10 points and nine rebounds for Florida, which lost point guard Kasey Hill to an ankle injury.
Hill, a freshman averaging 10 points a game, badly sprained his left ankle early in the second half and had to be helped to the locker room. He did not return.
The injury could be problematic for Florida (3-1), which already is without point guard Scottie Wilbekin. The senior is suspended indefinitely, but he could return as early as next week.
The Gators had little trouble without Hill against the Jaguars (1-4).
The Gators extended their home winning streak to 18.
Calvin Godfrey led Southern with 18 points and nine rebounds.