Michigan State vs. Oklahoma final score: Appling, Harris lead Spartans to Coaches vs. Cancer title, 87-76

Maddie Meyer

Oklahoma put up a fight, but the top team in the nation would not be denied an early season trophy.

Oklahoma got out to a fast start, but the Michigan State guards carried the Spartans to a 87-76 victory in the Coaches vs. Cancer championship game Saturday in Brooklyn, N.Y. The Spartans advanced to the title game with a win over Virginia Tech on Friday, while the Sooners staged a remarkable comeback against Seton Hall in their semifinal.

The Michigan State backcourt of Keith Appling (27 points), Gary Harris (21 points) and Branden Dawson (18 points, 10 rebounds) led the way, combining for 76 percent of the Spartans' scoring.

Oklahoma jumped out to a 22-11 lead midway through the first half and appeared in control before the Spartans came storming back. A 19-7 run gave Michigan State its first lead of the night with 6:37 to play in the opening period, and the Spartans didn't stop there. They extended their advantage to 14 by intermission.

But the Spartans just couldn't put the Sooners away. Oklahoma climbed to within four with 12:20 to play and hung around until the end. Cameron Clark led all scorers with a career-high 32 points. The Sooners spent the majority of the second half in the bonus, allowing them to stay within striking distance. They shot 22-of-30 from the foul line.

Michigan State still held on, though, scoring eight of the game's final 10 points.

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