Izzo testy after Spartans struggle vs. Kansas

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LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. (AP) — Michigan State coach Tom Izzo was blunt about his Spartans missing close shots.

“I think a dead man can make a layup,” Izzo said after No. 20 Michigan State lost 61-56 Sunday to No. 11 Kansas in the Orlando Classic championship game.

“We just didn’t execute very well.”

The Spartans struggled from the floor during the first 12 minutes of the second half, making just 4 of 22 shots (18.2 percent). Kansas was 6 for 17 (35.3) over the same stretch.

“We came out and we just didn’t have the same energy as Kansas had,” Michigan State’s Denzel Valentine said. “They just had the momentum in the second half.”

The Spartans ended shooting just 32.2 percent (19 for 59).

“I think the shots that we missed were draining,” Valentine said.

Valentine and Travis Trice both scored 14 points for Michigan State (5-2)

Perry Ellis had 17 points and nine rebounds for Kansas (5-1). Svi Mykhailiuk added 11 points and Frank Mason III chipped in 10.

“To me winning the tournament is OK,” Kansas coach Bill Self said. “But beating a quality team is more important to me.”

Ellis was the classic MVP after scoring 58 points and grabbing 27 rebounds in three Jayhawks’ victories.

“They found a way to win, give them credit,” Izzo said. “We found a way to lose, give us blame.”

Trice’s 3 made it 59-56 with 1:36 to play. After both teams failed to score on their next possession, Jamari Traylor hit two free throws in the final minute.

Kansas took its biggest lead at 54-46 on Cliff Alexander’s 3-point play with 7 1-2 minutes left.

Ellis scored on a spin move, Mason made two free throws and Landen Lucas had a layup to put Kansas ahead 45-38 with 14 minutes to play.

After Michigan State pulled within three, Lucas’ rebound basket made it 47-42 three minutes later.

TIP-INS

Kansas: The Jayhawks lost their other game this season against a Top 25 team, 72-40 to No. 1 Kentucky on Nov. 18. … Kansas is 5-1 or better for the third straight year and 10th time in Self’s 12 years at the school. … Mason had 10 rebounds and five assists. … This was Jayhawks’ sixth in-season tourney title under Self.

Michigan State: In their other game against a Top 25 team this season, the Spartans were beat on Nov. 18 81-71 by No. 4 Duke. … Izzo is 4-2 against Kansas. … Branden Dawson had eight points and nine rebounds.

DENZEL’S DAYS

Valentine set new career-high scoring marks in both of the first two games, and completed the classic with 58 points.

OUTSIDE WOES

Kansas made just 3 of 14 3-point tries, while Michigan State went 6 of 17.

UP NEXT

Kansas hosts Florida Friday night as part of the BIG 12-SEC Challenge.

Michigan State will take part in the ACC-Big 10 Challenge Wednesday night at Notre Dame.