No.10 Michigan State led the entire game, but a late second half surge by No.1 UCLA put them ahead for the first time in the game and for good.
The Bruins (5-0) topped the Spartans (3-1) 68-63 on Tuesday night in Kansas City to win the CBE Classic Championship, after Luc Richard Mbah a Moute drained a huge three-pointer with 28 seconds left in the game, breaking a 63-63 tie.
The Spartans would rely on their All-American guard Drew Neitzel to get them back at even but two wide three-pointers and a pair of Bruins free-throws at the other end sealed the game.
Freshman Kevin Love scored 21 points and 11 rebounds, earning every basket amidst heavy MSU pressure inside.
It was Love's three-point play after a Drew Neitzel three-pointer that put MSU up by five that sparked the Bruins.
After a sluggish first half dominated by the Spartans, the Bruins erased an 11-point halftime deficit and outscored the MSU in the second period 43-27.
One of the biggest keys in the game was the offensive rebounding edge, which went to Bruins 31-23 for the game and a lopsided 18-7 in offensive rebounding.
UCLA did all of their damage playing without their All-American guard Darren Collison, who has been out since Nov. 2 with a sprained left knee.
In his spot was Russell Westbrook, who scored 13 points and grabbed six rebounds, filling Collison spot pretty well.
Josh Shipp had a dominant second half to set the pace for the Bruins.
Shipp had 14 of his 18 points in the second half to trim a 13-point first-half deficit to 56-54, then Westbrook scored eight straight points, tying the game at 58 on a steal and breakaway dunk with four minutes left.
But it wasn't until Mbah a Moute's three that the Bruins finally took the lead for the first time in the game, turning out to be the winning bucket.
Neitzel, who has been battling flu-like symptoms for more than a week and did not start against UCLA, finished with 13 points. Raymar Morgan scored 10 points but for a second straight night rode the bench in the second half with four fouls.
The foul trouble was a concern all game, with big-men Drew Naymick and Idong Ibok both fouling out.
Despite shooting 54 percent from the field as a team, the Spartans could not get the shots in the end to bring them back, and UCLA's experience and toughness, especially from Kevin Love, proved to be the determining factor in the end.
MSU Stalls; UCLA Wins on Late Three-Pointer
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