John Calipari mentioned shortly before tipoff he had no idea which players were going to show up on opening night against the top-ranked team in the nation. Tyrese Maxey made sure that everyone knew the answer before the final buzzer sounded.
The freshman guard came off the bench Tuesday to lead No. 2 Kentucky to a 69-62 win over No. 1 Michigan State in the Champions Classic at the Madison Square Garden, pouring in 26 points in his first collegiate game.
With Michigan State crawling back from a double-digit deficit to get within two with 1:27 remaining, Maxey drilled a deep three-pointer near the halfcourt logo with the shot clock winding down. The Spartans appeared to have all the momentum they needed to take a late lead but the clutch basket by the five-star freshman proved to be the game’s final statement.
Kentucky’s advantage at the free throw line (25 made attempts to Michigan State’s 13) and the Spartans’ inability to hit their open jumpers (5-26 from three-point range) were enough for the Wildcats to seal the signature win. Maxey’s dazzling efforts provided the finishing touches on what was a solid team effort by Kentucky in the first game of the new season.
Sporting News provided live updates, highlights and score changes from Kentucky vs. Michigan State:
Kentucky vs. Michigan State score
Kentucky vs. Michigan State live updates, highlights
(All times Eastern)
Final: Kentucky 69, Michigan State 62
12:11 a.m.: Ahrens misses a solid look from the perimeter and Maxey has the rebound. Michigan State sends Kentucky to the line.
12:07 a.m.: Maxey pulls up from way downtown with the shot clock winding down to put Kentucky ahead 65-60 with 59 seconds to go.
12:06 a.m.: Winston drives into traffic and draws a foul and scores the basket. He will have a chance to bring Michigan State within two with 1:27 on the clock.
12:02 a.m.: Michigan State misses a pair of open looks and Maxey scores an off-balance bucket the other way to make it 62-56 with just over two minutes remaining.
Under-4 timeout: Kentucky 60, Michigan State 56
11:56 p.m.: Michigan State has clawed to make it a one-possession game. It’s a 12-2 run for the Spartans with six minutes to go.
11:48 p.m.: The Spartans answer the Wildcats run with three consecutive baskets and 7-0 run of their own. Michigan State within six at the under-8.
11:43 p.m.: Kentucky races out of the media timeout with a quick run to make it 54-41 after a Nate Sestina three-pointer.
Under-12 timeout: Kentucky 45, Michigan State 41
11:38 p.m.: Winston picks up his third foul on a Kentucky 3-point attempt and the Wildcats will have three free throws after the media timeout.
11:33 p.m. Maxey drills a 3 and the Wildcats follow it up with a transition dunk, putting Kentucky back up comfortably with a 44-36 lead.
11:30 p.m.: The Spartans miss on three opportunities to bring the deficit to within one possession. Kentucky answers by being fouled on the other end.
11:17 p.m.: Michigan State scores the first two buckets of the second period and John Calipari needs a timeout.
11:14 p.m.: Winston scores the first basket of the half for Michigan State. He has 14 of the Spartans’ 26 points.
Halftime: Kentucky 34, Michigan State 24
10:57 p.m.: Sixteen of Kentucky’s 34 first-half points came at the free throw line as the teams combined for 26 fouls and 16 made field goals.
10:53 p.m.: Maxey attacks and gets to the line, looking to give the Wildcats a double-digit lead before the break.
10:51 p.m.: Momentum is all Kentucky. Michigan State commits its 11th turnover of the half and hasn’t made a basket in nearly six minutes.
10:47 p.m.: Quickley nails a three-pointer and Kentucky has a 30-23 advantage. Two more free throws by Maxey gives Kentucky its largest lead of the game.
Under-4 timeout: Kentucky 27, Michigan State 23
10:39 p.m.: Kentucky misses a flurry of second-chance opportunities and is called for a foul underneath. Michigan State heads to the line trailing 25-22 with four minutes and change remaining in the first half. Both teams in the double bonus.
10:31 p.m.: Tyrese Maxey pulls up from multiple feet beyond the three-point line and drills the transition bucket to put Kentucky up 21-18 at the under-8.
10:26 p.m.: A combined 16 fouls and just eight made field goals between the two teams over the first 10 minutes. Cassius Winston hits a triple to bring Michigan State within two at 16-14.
Under-12 timeout: Kentucky 13, Michigan State 9
10:13 p.m.: Kentucky’s Ashton Hagans is seen on the bench with a wrap around his ankle area as well as his back. He leads with the Wildcats with five points so far.
10:06 p.m.: Kentucky is out to a quick 9-4 advantage, five of the points coming from the free throw line.
10 p.m.: Michigan State gets the opening tip and we are underway.
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