Michigan State survived a scare against Georgia Tech.

What the Spartans did not escape was the wrath of their coach.

The Yellow Jackets’ Zam Fredrick hit the rim on a shot from about 30 feet as time expired, and No. 13 Michigan State held on for an 88-86 victory Wednesday night in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge.

The Spartans (4-2) led the entire game, but the Yellow Jackets (2-2) never let the home team get comfortable because they shot 52 percent and made 10 3-pointers.

“We don’t want to guard anybody,” Michigan State coach Tom Izzo said. “That’s going to change.

“If you don’t check, you don’t win championships. We’re trying to invent a new brand, and I’m not buying.”

Paul Davis scored 19 of his 22 points in the second half for the Spartans, but his two missed free throws with 4.3 seconds left allowed Fredrick to get off a 3-pointer that would’ve given the young Yellow Jackets a huge win.

“It’s disappointing to lose like this,” Georgia Tech coach Paul Hewitt said.

Davis almost spoiled his performance by going 0-for-4 at the line.

“I don’t know what was going on with my free throws, but I’m not going to worry about it,” he said. “If we lost, I would’ve been cutting myself up more.”

Davis was cut below his left eyebrow late in the game, but didn’t miss much time because of timeouts.

Michigan State led by nine with 1:18, but its lead began to disappear after Anthony Morrow, Mario West and Ra’Sean Dickey made three 3-pointers while the Spartans failed to seal the victory with free throws.

“We had them on the ropes,” Dickey said.

Dickey scored 24 points and dominated inside and Morrow made seven 3-pointers and finished with 23 points. Jeremis Smith had 14 points and 10 rebounds, and Fredrick added 11 points and 10 assists for the Yellow Jackets.

Michigan State’s Shannon Brown scored 22, Drew Neitzel had 17 points and seven assists and Maurice Ager scored 15.

“Drew Neitzel had one of his best games as a Spartan,” Izzo said. “He was the only guy I thought defended well. He pushed the ball as hard as anybody we’ve had here, and he was looking for his shot.”

The Spartans led 42-32 at halftime and, after taking a 12-point lead, the Yellow Jackets pulled to 46-43.

Davis was sensational as he made an assortment of shots midway through the second half.

He scored 15 of 19 points for the Spartans, giving them a 72-63 lead. The 6-foot-11 center scored on putbacks, a low-post move, a reverse layup, a hook, a mid-range jumper and a 3-pointer.

“I didn’t think he could shoot like that,” Hewitt said.

Michigan State, coming off a Final Four appearance, has a roster with some veterans while Georgia Tech lost five seniors and a junior from last season’s 20-win team.

“When we play for each other, instead of playing young like we’ve done sometimes, we can be very good,” Hewitt said. “This team is capable of being a tournament-caliber team.”

The Yellow Jackets’ lineup with four sophomores got off to a rough start.

Michigan State scored the first seven points and led 15-5 after three-plus minutes.

Georgia Tech pulled to 27-26 midway through the first half before trailing by 10 at halftime.

The teams played for the first time since an NCAA tournament game in 1990, when Georgia Tech won in overtime after Kenny Anderson made a disputed shot at the end of regulation.

“If we would’ve had instant replay, we would’ve been in the Elite Eight,” said Michigan State assistant Dwayne Stephens, who was a forward on the court for the Spartans at the time.

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