December 10, 2022

Kentucky MBB falls to Michigan State in double-OT thriller

Playing in Indianapolis doesn’t look like it’s going to end well for the Kentucky Wildcats…

No. 4 Kentucky men’s basketball (2-1) fell to unranked Michigan State (2-1) 86-77 in double overtime in the 2022 Champions Classic on Tuesday night. National Player of the Year Oscar Shipway, playing his first game of the season and dominating all night, fouled out in the opening overtime period, which blew the door open for the Spartans to own the second OT. MSU outscored UK 15-6 in the final overtime.

Despite the loss for Kentucky, Shipway was the star of the night, finishing with 22 points, 18 rebounds and four blocks. He was helped by an impressive line of 14 points, five assists and eight steals from the freshman. Cason Wallace when Zahveer Wheeler 16 points and eight assists. Jacob Dauphin Rounded out the double-digit scorers with 10 points and four rebounds.

UK shot just 38.6 percent from the floor and 7-25 percent from distance. Michigan State outrebounded the ‘Cats seven times and shot 37 percent from deep. The Spartans were led by Joey Houser’s eight rebounds, along with 23 points and 20 points and five rebounds from Malik Hall.

From the opening tip, Wallace made his presence felt on the defensive end, and that would quickly become a theme throughout the night. Kentucky took its first lead 6-4 at the opening media timeout and held a slim advantage for most of the half. The Cats extended its lead to seven in the eight minute span before the Spartans came alive.

At halftime, MSU held a slight 36-34 lead. UK was powered by five points, three assists and five steals from Wallace along with 11 points and seven rebounds from Shipway. Kentucky was 2-10 from long range and was outscored 7-0 in fastbreak points.

Outside the locker room, Michigan State struck first, going ahead by five before the ‘Cats got rolling. A Toppin corner 3-pointer tied the game at 39 as the score would remain within five points remaining in the second half. With less than 12 minutes of media time left, Toppin and CJ Friedrich The two faced three errors, and not long after, Shipway hit his third of the game.

Later, a Michigan State jumper tied the game at 58, but a Toppin free throw followed by a Shipway offensive rebound and putback layup gave Kentucky a three-point advantage with less than two minutes left. Another jump shot from MSU cut the lead to one, which eventually led to a foul from DeShipway. The Spartans rallied to trail 61-60 with 35.6 seconds left.

But Wallace missed a Michigan State shot in the lane with 18 seconds left. Fittingly, Wallace was fouled on the next inbounds play, one of two at the line. MSU called a timeout, 62-60, with 11 seconds left.

Shipway blocked Michigan State’s first attempt, but was gifted a wide-open dunk to tie the game at 62 for the Spartans. England called a timeout, leading to a halfcourt shot from Tappin. The first overtime game.

Kentucky opened the extra period with a pair of Toppin free throws and a Wheeler 3-pointer to take its first five-point lead since the first half. But MSU answered with five points of its own, tying it back up at 67-67 with roughly two minutes left.

As the clock neared 30 seconds, Shipway was called for a moving screen, which took him out of the contest and gave the ball back to Michigan State. The Spartans would tie the game again in the final seconds as another overtime would come. Without Tshiebwe on the floor, Kentucky fell flat on both ends from there.

Michigan State went ahead, 82-76, with a minute left, but UK was all but defeated. The Spartans won 86-77. A 16-24 clip (66.7 percent) from the free throw line for the ‘Cats played a key role in the disappointing finish.

Next up for Kentucky is a game against South Carolina State on Thursday followed by a road showdown against No. 2 Gonzaga on Sunday.