By RICK FREEMAN
AP Sports Writer
NEW YORK — Tim Hardaway Jr. brought the ball up the court, then dribbled between his legs and headed to the left. Then he flashed back to his right, rose up and knocked down a midrange jumper.
The crowd at Madison Square Garden gasped at the crossover, which was reminiscent of his famous father’s most memorable move. Michigan fans jumped up and cheered. Kansas State coach Bruce Weber called timeout, but it didn’t work.
Hardaway scored 23 points to power No. 4 Michigan to a 71-57 victory over the Wildcats in the final of the NIT Season Tipoff on Friday night.
Glenn Robinson III had 12 rebounds, and Trey Burke and Jon Horford had 10 points apiece for the Wolverines. Hardaway made 10 of 15 shots from the field before he was kneed in the head with less than four minutes left. He returned to the bench in time to celebrate with the rest of his team and collect the tournament MVP award.
“This is what he works for. He works hard at not just being a shooter but to have an in-between game, be a rebounder,” Michigan coach John Beilein said. “The biggest thing is his work ethic. That just doesn’t happen. He’s got great DNA, but DNA doesn’t get you there alone.”
Hardaway wasn’t available to talk to reporters, but Michigan trainer John DoRosario said the junior passed his concussion tests and was cleared to fly home. The Wolverines’ next game is Tuesday against No. 16 North Carolina State.
Rodney McGruder had 16 points and seven rebounds, and Angel Rodriguez scored 10 for Kansas State (5-1).
Michigan (5-0) won the tournament, previously known as the Preseason NIT, for the first time. It was the Wolverines’ first title in a significant preseason tournament since the 1997-98 season, when they beat Syracuse to capture the Puerto Rico Holiday Classic.
“Those who stay will be champions,” Beilein said, citing the aphorism of former football coach Bo Schembechler. “So whenever we have a chance to do something like this, we embrace it and go for it like there’s no other games in the season.”
Speaking of football: Although this appears to be one of Michigan’s best basketball teams since the Fab Five era, fans at the Garden chanted “Beat Ohio!,” looking ahead to Saturday’s football game against the archrival Buckeyes.
The Wolverines struggled at the end of the first half against Kansas State while Trey Burke and Jordan Morgan sat on the bench in foul trouble. But Hardaway took over after the break.
“I knew we were going to come out in the second half and make adjustments,” Burke said. “I knew that Tim was the hot hand, and they were playing and waiting for me to get to the lane.”
Hardaway made four baskets in the first eight minutes as Michigan got out to a 49-30 lead. His crossover, on which he juked Kansas State’s Will Spradling far out of position, made it 43-27, and Michigan kept up the pressure, taking a 21-point lead with a little over 10 minutes to play.
From there, it was mostly a formality.
In its semifinal, Kansas State overcame a pesky Delaware team that should contend in the Colonial Athletic Association, but Michigan was several notches above the Blue Hens and the Wildcats didn’t have much of an answer. They got off to a slow start in each half, and spent most of their effort trying to chip away at Michigan’s lead.
“We spotted them six to start and spotted them eight or so the second half and that’s the game and you’re just playing catch-up,” Kansas State coach Bruce Weber said..
Michigan had a 10-point advantage midway through the first half, but gave some of it back after Morgan and Burke each got two fouls. The Wildcats were outshot 48 percent to 29 percent in the half, but only trailed by five at 29-24.
The Wildcats should be favored in their next four games before they face No. 7 Florida on Dec. 22. They open the Big 12 season Jan. 5 against Oklahoma State.
Michigan’s road isn’t as easy — the Wolfpack come to Ann Arbor on Tuesday, and Michigan returns to New York on Dec. 15 for a game against West Virginia at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn.
“We got to go prove it again,” Beilein said. “The season is a marathon. This is maybe the first 400 yards or something of that marathon, but we ran it well.”
NO. 3 OHIO STATE 91, UMKC 45
COLUMBUS, Ohio — Deshaun Thomas scored 15 of his 21 points as No. 3 Ohio State coasted to a huge first-half lead in a victory against overmatched Missouri-Kansas.
Lenzelle Smith Jr. added 13 points and LaQuinton Ross and Sam Thompson had 11 apiece as Ohio State (4-0) experimented with subs for almost the entire second half.
Estan Tyler and Thomas Staton each had seven points for the ‘Roos (2-3).
NO. 5 DUKE 67, VCU 58
PARADISE ISLAND, Bahamas (AP) — Mason Plumlee, a 6-foot-10 center who helped break VCU’s pressure, had 17 points and 10 rebounds to lead No. 5 Duke to a victory in the semifinals of the Battle 4 Atlantis.
All five Duke (5-0) starters scored at least nine points and they accounted for all but three of the Blue Devils’ total. Seth Curry had 15 for Duke.
The Rams (3-2), who beat No. 19 Memphis 78-65 in the first round, hurt themselves at the line, going 12 for 19.
Juvonte Reddic had 16 points and 13 rebounds for VCU.
NO. 7 FLORIDA 79, UCF 66
GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Kenny Boynton scored a season-high 24 points, Scottie Wilbekin added a career-best 17 and No. 7 Florida beat UCF.
The Gators (5-0) overcame a sluggish start, dominated the paint and pressed the Knights (3-2) into a bevy of turnovers.
Boynton, three days after spraining his left ankle, made 7 of 15 shots and added eight rebounds. Wilbekin, playing his third game since returning from suspension, chipped in five rebounds and eight assists.
Kasey Wilson led the Knights with 20 points on 6-of-11 shooting.
NO. 15 MICHIGAN ST. 70, OAKLAND 52
EAST LANSING, Mich. — Keith Appling shook off a sprained right ankle in the first half and finished with 20 points to help No. 15 Michigan State beat Oakland.
The Spartans (4-1) have won four straight since starting the season with a loss to Connecticut in Germany.
The Golden Grizzlies (2-4) never led, but didn’t make Michigan State’s night easy until late in the game.
Michigan State’s Adreian Payne scored 15 points, Denzel Valentine had 10 points and 10 assists and Derrick Nix added 10 points.
Duke Mondy scored 16 for the Golden Grizzlies.
NO. 16 N.C. STATE 82, UNC ASHEVILLE 80
RALEIGH, N.C. — Richard Howell scored 23 points, including the go-ahead basket with 3:06 left, to help No. 16 North Carolina State rally past UNC Asheville.
Howell finished with 15 rebounds and also knocked down two free throws with 5 seconds left to secure the win for the Wolfpack (4-1). UNC Asheville (1-5) led by seven with 8½ minutes left before N.C. State finally went ahead, pushing in front when Howell corralled a deflected pass and scored in the paint while drawing an intentional foul.
Jeremy Atkinson scored a career-high 28 points for the Bulldogs, who lost their fifth straight since beating Western Carolina in the opener.
NO. 17 GONZAGA 72, OKLAHOMA 47
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — Elias Harris scored 18 points and No. 17 Gonzaga beat Oklahoma in a semifinal matchup at the Old Spice Classic.
Kelly Olynyk, Gary Bell Jr., Kevin Pangos and Przemek Karnowski each had eight points for Gonzaga (5-0).
Oklahoma (3-1) got 13 from Romero Osby. Isaiah Cousins had 10 points.
Gonzaga will play Davidson, which beat West Virginia 63-60, in Sunday night’s championship game.
MINNESOTA 84, NO. 19 MEMPHIS 75
PARADISE ISLAND, Bahamas — Andre Hollins scored a career-high 41 points to lead Minnesota to a victory over No. 19 Memphis in the consolation semifinals of the Battle 4 Atlantis.
The sophomore guard scored 24 points in the first half — one off his career high entering the game — and he closed strong.
Hollins finished 12 of 16 from the field — making all five of his 3-point attempts — and going 12 of 13 from the free throw line.
Minnesota (5-1) will meet Stanford for fifth place today.
NO. 22 CINCINNATI 78, IOWA STATE 70
LAS VEGAS — Sean Kilpatrick made all 16 of his free throws and scored 32 points, leading No. 22 Cincinnati to a win over Iowa State in the semifinals of the Global Sports Classic.
After winning their first four games by an average margin of 34.5 points per game, the Bearcats (5-0) had their hands full with a talented Iowa State (4-1).
Cashmere Wright had 14 points for the Bearcats and Titus Rubles had 10 points.
Iowa State’s Tyrus McGee led his team with 22 points, Korie Lucious scored 12 and Melvin Ejim had seven points and 10 rebounds.