No. 1 Michigan State 82, Portland 67
Keith Appling matched a career high with 25 points to help host Michigan State pull away to beat Portland 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. The Pilots (1-2) were balanced on offense with Kevin Bailey leading the way with 12 points and pesky on defense and the boards.
No. 6 Duke 91, UNC Asheville 55
Jabari Parker had 21 points and 10 rebounds, and host Duke beat UNC Asheville in the opening round of the NIT Season Tip-Off.
Rodney Hood had 15 of his 18 points in the first half for the Blue Devils (3-1), who 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).
No. 9 Syracuse 56, St. Francis (N.Y.) 50
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, as Syracuse held off St. Francis Brooklyn 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.
No. 16 Florida 67, Southern University 53
Host Florida lost point guard Kasey Hill to an ankle injury in a victory against Southern.
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).