Indianapolis – Another top-five opponent taken to the wire.
This time, Michigan State basketball took fourth place Kentucky into overtime. Then another. He cringes every time Oscar Chebuy and the Wildcats look ready to finish it off. The kind of high drama the Spartans are used to, after three games into the season.
Tyson Walker and Maddy Sissoko made sure Friday history didn’t repeat itself. The duo connected on a pair of dunked alleys in the second overtime as MSU used an 11-0 possession run to give Tom Izzo’s team an 86-77 win over Kentucky in the Champions Classic Tuesday night at Gainbridge Fieldhouse.
“It was a big win for the program, not an individual win,” said Izzo, who improved to 5-7 in the Champions Classic and 3-1 against the Wildcats in the event.
National Player of the Year, Chibui made his season debut with Kentucky, came off the bench and finished with 22 points and 18 rebounds before losing in the first overtime.
But Joey Hauser rocked a brutal game against Gonzaga and missed an ugly shot on his first attempt against Kentucky to finish with 23 points and eight rebounds. He caught a pair of midrange jumpers in the final 2:37 of regulation, including one on the drive with 1:04 to play, then grabbed a defensive fumble after a Tshiebwe foul.
Malik Hall’s dunk with 3.7 seconds on a pass from AJ Hoggard sent the game into overtime. And Hall did it again to send him into another overtime, one wash out with 1.4 seconds remaining in the first overtime period. Hall finished with 20 points and five rebounds.
But it was Walker and Sissoko who shone late on, collecting 16 points between overtime. Walker scored 14 while Sissoko had another solid performance against the All-American with 16 points and eight rebounds – and didn’t miss.
Predictions:MSU’s predictions are bold for every player on the roster
Traveler Wheeler scored 16 points and eight assists for Kentucky. Casson Wallace added 14 and Jacob Tobin scored 10.
The Spartans had 18 turnovers but none in the two overtime periods. The Wildcats reserves outscored MSU’s 45-9, but the Spartans had a 45-38 rebound advantage.
MSU (2-1) hosts Villanova on Friday (8 p.m./FS1) as part of the Gavitt Tipoff Games between the Big Ten and Big East conferences.
After a slow start by both teams, which combined to miss their first 12 3-point attempts, Kentucky went up with seven after a pass by Wheeler and a tip by forward Lance Weir.
But after a pair of Jaden Akins free throws, the Spartans found a hit, as Walker and Hauser hit back-to-back 3-pointers to force Wildcats coach John Calipari to call a timeout to stop MSU’s 8-0 run that gave it a 21-20 lead with 7:12 left. in the opening inning.
Hauser, who scored 0-for-5 and had an error on Friday in the Spartans’ 64-63 loss to No. 2-ranked Gonzaga, scored 3 more points with 5 minutes left in the second half with 2:24 left after Kentucky extended his lead. Lead to a four on dipping chipui.
That set off an insane 30-second sequence with just over a minute to play before halftime, as Hoggard pushed the pace and hit Hall for a dunk in transition, followed by another Wheeler speed-drive and Hoggard again came out fast and found Sissoko to throw the ball. Hall sent the Spartans into the break with a 36-34 lead with a 3-pointer from the right wing with 27.5 points left, and they made 5-of-7 from deep to close out the half after missing the first six attempts.
Hall had 10 points and Hauser nine in the second half, MSU beat Kentucky 2-for-10 from depth and 42.4 from the field, and the Spartans outscored the taller, taller, deeper Wildcats 18-16 in the first 20 minutes. Chipui, who made his season debut after missing the first two games with a knee injury, had 11 points and seven rebounds in the first half and was a big reason Kentucky edged MSU reserves 23-6 at halftime.
Big man fight
The second half went back and forth, with the Spartans extending their lead to five points with Hall’s players and Sissoko’s free throw. But the MSU center picked up its second foul in the first minute and got its third foul with 17:58 left, second on an illegal screen, and took a seat the next 9:39.
That left freshmen Jaxon Kohler and Carson Cooper to try to handle the 6-foot-9, 260-pound Tshiebwe in the paint. They mostly contained him, though Cooper made a foul and Chipui converted a three-point play after what appeared to start with an elbow to Cooper’s face by a Kentucky star. The referees checked and said there was no contact with the chair.
Then 36 seconds later, Chibui got the ball against the post again and Hall elbowed him in the face. That drew the whistle and his third foul. Tshiebwe went to the bench.
That allowed Izzo to recover Sissoko, and he followed Walker’s error with a dunk right away and hit a pair of 1-and-1 free throws to give MSU a 51-50 lead with 7:35 to play.
Chipui came back and threw a dunk to put Kentucky back in front, then stuffed Hall on a baseline run. That led to the Wildcats’ breakout, CJ Fredrick’s drained three-pointer that forced Izzo to call a timeout, and MSU was down 56-52 with 5:21 to play.
Hauser drained a deep jacket to cut the deficit 56-54. But with 3:53 left, Chibui fouled Sissoko’s fourth on a subsequent hit on the right block. And with 2:16 left, Chibui rebounded from a missed free throw—seemingly knocking Sissoko to the ground—and putting Kentucky back in the third.
But Hauser buried a jumping elbow with 1:04 left and caught a crucial rebound on a Tshiebwe foul with just over 40 seconds left. Walker missed a jump game and Kentucky’s Wallace hit one of his two free throws with 15.4 points remaining to make it a two-point game. After Hoggard was blocked by Tshiebwe, the Kentucky Hall center lost on the line play, who cut to the basket and took Hoggard’s pass for an uncontested dunk to force the first overtime.
MSU seemed to have an early lead in overtime, as the Wildcats scored their first five points. But Hauser hit a pair of free throws, Walker pulled off a three-pointer with 2:28 left in the extra period, then drained another elbow jumper with 59 seconds remaining after Wheeler gave Kentucky a three-point lead with his free throw and layup. .
Walker then screen Tshiebwe to draw the big man’s fifth foul and send him to the bench for good. MSU called a timeout with 7.6 seconds left after a single free throw by Wallace made it 71-69. Izzo flicked the ball to Walker, sent it to Hoggard behind the end line and then took off for a run. He grabbed a step pass and set up Hall, who was teetering on the left wing and driving in for another dunk to force a second Spartans pull away with a 15-6 blast going into the second overtime period.
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