Game 14: Michigan State 78 Kentucky 74

12 Nov

A double check of the calendar does confirm it is November 12th not March 12th.  The under card of the Champions Classic started out looking like just that, the under card but turned into the heavyweight fight we were all expecting.  In the end the experience of Michigan State out slugged the talented youth of Kentucky 78-74.  For the first 30 minutes of #1 Kentucky vs #2 Michigan State it looked like the young Wildcats were caught off guard by the big lights of the moment and the experience of Michigan State.  The Spartans jumped out to a 10-0 lead and shot 58% in the first half while keeping the Wildcats at bay.  The Wildcats committed nine first-half turnovers but were kept in the game by one of their other freshmen James Young who had 15 points.  Their heralded freshman Julius Randle began the 2nd half with six straight points to cut the Spartan lead in half at 44-38.  The Spartans answered by extending the lead back to 13 at 59-46 after a Matt Costello layup.  The Kentucky youngsters showed some resolve however going on a 20-7 run to tie the game at 66 with 4:48 to play.  In the matter of 10 seconds the Spartans answered with a Keith Appling three pointer and a Gary Harris steal and lay in, pushing the Michigan State lead to 71-66.

The Spartan back court led the way with Harris and Appling combined for 42 points, nine rebounds, eight assists and seven steals.  Adreian Payne added 15 for the Spartans.   For Kentucky Young finished with 19 points and Randle came as advertised, at least in the 2nd half, finishing with 27 points and 13 rebounds despite the seven turnovers.  The things that often plague young teams plagued the Wildcats in this one, 17 turnovers and shooting 56% from the free throw line.

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