Chicago, IL (SportsNetwork.com) - Second-ranked Michigan State held off No. 1
Kentucky 78-74 on Tuesday in the first game of the much-anticipated Champions
The game marked the first 1-2 matchup of Associated Press-ranked teams since
Feb. 23, 2008, when Memphis -- then coached by current Kentucky coach John
Calipari -- and Tennessee met.
Keith Appling had 22 points, eight assists and eight rebounds for the Spartans
(2-0), who improved to 4-19 all-time against teams ranked No. 1 in the AP Top
25. Gary Harris and Adreian Payne tallied 20 and 15 points, respectively.
Freshman Julius Randle recorded his third consecutive double-double with 27
points and 13 rebounds for the Wildcats (2-1), who entered the game 3-0 all-
time vs No. 2-ranked teams when ranked No. 1 in the nation. James Young
donated 19 points.
The second game of the Champions Classic pits No. 4 Duke against No. 5 Kansas.
Trailing 59-46 with 11 1/2 minutes to play, the Wildcats roared back with a
13-1 run. Randle tallied nine points during the surge that Andrew Harrison
capped with a layup to cut the gap to 60-59.
The turning point in the game occurred after Harrison and Randle both made two
free throws to deadlock the game at 66 with 4:48 to go. Appling's 3-pointer
broke the tie before Harris made a layup off a steal.
Michigan State was able to hold off Kentucky in the final two minutes.
Harrison made a pair of free throws and Randle added a short jumper around an
Appling turnover to get the Wildcats within 76-74 with 40.7 seconds left.
Branden Dawson's tip-in with 5.7 ticks remaining sealed the victory for
The Spartans took advantage of Kentucky's slow start, jumping out to a 14-5
lead. During Michigan State's run to start the game, the Wildcats went just 1-
of-9 from the field and turned the ball over six times.
Holding a 26-17 margin, the Spartans went on an 8-2 spurt. Payne scored all
eight of Michigan State's points, including a 3-pointer with 4:39 left to make
it a 34-19 contest.
The Spartans took a 44-32 lead into the locker room. Michigan State shot 58.1
percent from the field over the first 20 minutes.
Randle, who had just four points in the first half, scored the first six
points of the second to get Kentucky within six.
But the Spartans responded with an 11-4 run to build a double-digit margin
again. Denzel Valentine capped the burst with a 3-pointer to make it 55-42
with 13:52 to play.
Despite the loss, Kentucky owns a 12-11 edge in the all-time series with
Michigan State. The two teams previously met in the Elite Eight of the 2005
NCAA Tournament ... Randle had eight of Kentucky's 17 turnovers ... The game
featured the earliest matchup between teams ranked No. 1 and No. 2 in the
history of the AP poll.
The Sports Network