Michigan State outlasts Tshiebwe, No. 2 Kentucky in 2OT

Sports

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Malik Hall forced two extra periods with dunks off inbounds plays, and Michigan State outlasted No. 4 Kentucky 86-77 in double overtime on Tuesday night after Oscar Tshiebwe concluded his strong season debut by fouling out.

Tshiebwe, last season’s consensus national player of the year, had 22 points and 18 rebounds for the Wildcats (2-1) before picking up his fifth foul late in the first overtime.

Michigan State (2-1), coming off a one-point loss to No. 2 Gonzaga on the deck of the USS Abraham Lincoln, appeared headed for another tough nonconference defeat in this Champions Classic matchup. But the Spartans tied the game in the final seconds of regulation and overtime thanks to Hall, who finished with 20 points.

Joey Hauser scored 23 points and Mady Sissoko had a career-high 16 points with eight rebounds for the Spartans, who spent most of the second half playing catch-up. But with Tshiebwe on the bench, Michigan State closed out the game by outscoring Kentucky 13-1. Sissoko gave the Spartans the lead with an alley-oop slam and had another dunk in the final minute.

Kentucky led 62-60 near the end of regulation when Tshiebwe lost Hall on an inbound pass. Hall took advantage by dunking with 3.7 seconds left.

It happened again in the first overtime when Hall broke free as the Spartans moved the ball into the front court. He drove in for the dunk to tie it 71-71 with 1.4 seconds left.

After Cason Wallace’s 3-pointer early in the second overtime gave Kentucky a 76-73 lead, the Spartans locked down Kentucky’s shooters and pulled away.

BIG PICTURE

Michigan State: Coach Tom Izzo’s teams always seem to finish stronger than they start and if these Spartans do that again this season, they could be scary. Despite poor early shooting, they overcome a sluggish start to knock off a top-five team.

Kentucky: The Wildcats returned to the venue from their last loss, a first-round NCAA Tournament defeat to Saint Peter’s in March, and left with the same result. Yes, they’re big, long, athletic and defend well. But they’ll need to develop a closing punch.

POLL IMPLICATIONS

Michigan State: The Spartans were unranked in the preseason AP Top 25 and again this week. They’ll likely move into the poll after two strong showings against top-five foes.

Kentucky: Coach John Calipari’s squad didn’t need Tshiebwe last week. He missed the first two games while recovering from a knee procedure. But when he’s on the floor, the Wildcats are clearly one of the nation’s top teams. They may slide a few spots after this loss but will have a chance to recover — if they can beat No. 2 Gonzaga on the road this weekend.

HE’S BACK

Dick Vitale returned to ESPN’s broadcast Tuesday night following his battle against cancer. Vitale missed most of last season when his signature voice was impaired as he fought against lymphoma and melanoma.

He sat at midcourt, in front of Wildcats fans, and opened the broadcast by thanking everyone who sent text messages and notes of support and acknowledged the famous words of the late Jim Valvano — “Don’t give up, don’t ever give up” — inspired him to persevere.

UP NEXT

Michigan State: Hosts Villanova on Friday.

Kentucky: Hosts South Carolina State on Thursday.

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AP college basketball: https://apnews.com/hub/college-basketball and https://apnews.com/hub/ap-top-25-college-basketball-poll and https://twitter.com/AP_Top25