No. 2 MSU keeps Kentucky at bay

Michigan State Holds Off Kentucky

CHICAGO – As the buzzer sounded and his Michigan State teammates raced onto the court docket to celebrate, Gary Harris held his index finger aloft.

Little question about who's No. 1.

For now, not less than.

Branden Dawson tipped in a miss with lower than six seconds left, and the No. 2 Spartans hung on for a 78-74 victory over top-ranked Kentucky and its latest forged of phenoms within the first recreation of the Champions Basic on Tuesday night time.

"We wish to be No. 1 on the finish of the season," Keith Appling stated. "Not the start."

Hold playing like this and the Spartans (2-zero) are positive to be within the dialog come the tip of March.

Kentucky, too. After trailing by as a lot as 13 in the second half, wanting like the freshmen most of them are, the Wildcats (2-1) showed why there's a lot hype surrounding them. Julius Randle virtually beat the Spartans single-handedly, scoring 23 of his 27 points in the second half and making a jumper with 42 seconds left that lower Michigan State's result in seventy six-74.

However Dawson tipped in a miss by Denzel Valentine, and James Young missed a 3-pointer at the buzzer.

"You bought guys crying in there, which is an efficient thing," Kentucky coach John Calipari stated. "I would like it to hurt like that. I knew this is able to get their consideration. The most important factor is for those who don't do this collectively, you won't win. You may by no means be a particular staff."

This was the earliest 1 vs. 2 match-up, and first since Feb. 23, 2008, when Tennessee beat prime-ranked Memphis. The Tigers coach then? None aside from Calipari.

This sport had even more hype, principally due to the Kiddie Cats. Much has been manufactured from the children, with good purpose. The last time Calipari had a roster this star-studded, the Wildcats gained a nationwide title.

This group may be much more spectacular.

Six have been McDonald's All-People, and all are considered lottery picks in subsequent summer time's NBA draft, with Randle a risk for the general No. 1. The kids did nothing to minimize the hype in their first two video games, with Randle averaging 22.5 points and 15 rebounds, and the Harrison twins averaging in double figures. No marvel the game brought out scouts from almost every NBA group and celebrities including Nazr Mohammed and Detroit Lions defensive deal with Ndamukong Suh.

However the Spartans aren't precisely slouches, returning six of their high seven scorers. Just as necessary, massive-time video games like this are nothing new to them, with Izzo routinely scheduling the likes of Connecticut, Duke, North Carolina and Kansas earlier than Jan. 1.

"They're actually good," Calipari said. "This is the second sport out and so they go 17 assists to seven turnovers? That is unbelievable. Again, understand we're not the greatest defensive group, but 17 and seven? With these lights and all that is occurring around them? They're properly coached. They performed nicely."

Appling got here within two rebounds and two assists of a triple-double, finishing with 22 factors, and eight rebounds and assists. Harris had 20 points and Adreian Payne had 15 points and 4 rebounds for the Spartans.

Kentucky had strolled via its first two games, with Randle and the other freshmen developing large. However there's a large difference between those non-conference patsies and Michigan State, and the Spartans let the Wildcats know what they were up towards from the opening tip.

MSU shot chart

ESPN Stats & Info

Michigan State hit fifty eight.1 percent of its field goals within the first half against Kentucky.

Smothering the Wildcats defensively and leaving them flat-footed with their stunning speed on offense, Michigan State had a ten-0 lead earlier than Kentucky acquired its first bucket. The Cats had seven turnovers before the midway level of the first half, and would finish with 17.

And it was clear that, with four freshmen within the starting lineup and one other getting heavy enjoying time, the Wildcats are still getting used to each other, too. At one point, Andrew Harrison rifled a no-look cross to Willie Cauley-Stein that Cauley-Stein wasn't anticipating, and the ball sailed out of bounds.

They struggled at the line, too, going simply 20 of 36.

"They will get quite a bit better. Give them credit," Izzo said. "But I believed we played awfully well for lots of that game."

Still, the Spartans acquired in foul bother midway by the second half, and the slower tempo gave the Wildcats time to catch their breath and regroup. It also gave a seething Randle a possibility to work out his anger.

"What I beloved about him, he gritted his tooth, was ornery and nasty and he wanted to put them on his shoulders," Izzo mentioned. "For a freshman, that speaks volumes. He utterly did that. You could possibly see it and hear him. Robust kid."

Randle scored nine points in a thirteen-1 run that minimize Michigan State's result in 60-fifty nine with eight:05 left, including a "How'd he do that?" off-steadiness jumper from behind a sea of inexperienced jerseys. He and Harrison every made a pair of free throws to tie the sport at sixty six with 4:forty eight left.

But Appling drilled a 3, and Harris stripped Randle at the other finish. He took it in for a layup that put the Spartans back in entrance, seventy one-66, bringing the Michigan State fans – including Spartan in Chief, Magic Johnson – to their feet.

Randle wasn't executed simply yet, however. After Harrison's free throws Kentucky inside seventy six-seventy two with 1:33 to play, the Wildcats pounced on an Appling turnover and Randle scored on a jumper. But Dawson's tip-in sealed the win.

"I maintain reiterating: They are going to get rather a lot higher," Izzo mentioned. "But I truthfully believe so will we."


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One-handed player commits to Florida

Zach Hodskins, who was born with out the decrease half of his left arm, dedicated to Florida on Saturday as a preferred walk-on.

“It’s all the time been my dream growing up,” Hodskins stated. “I by no means expected it to be like this, however the hard work has paid off. I am ecstatic I will be a Florida Gator.”

I by no means expected it to be like this, however the hard work has paid off. I’m ecstatic I’m going to be a Florida Gator.

- Zach Hodskins

The Lexington, Ky., native had been involved with several faculties – together with Kentucky and coach John Calipari – but felt his finest chance to play was in Gainesville.

“At Florida, I’ll have each alternative to get on the floor and play,” he mentioned. “The state of affairs was different at Kentucky.”

The 6-foot-4, 200-pound Hodskins, who’s coming off a robust summer time on the AAU circuit, is trying to be more than a really feel-good story for Billy Donovan and the Gators.

“I am coming on as a most popular stroll-on, but I will be treated like every different player,” Hodskins stated. “If I work arduous, Coach Donovan told me I am going to have a chance to play.”

Florida (29-eight) lost in the Elite Eight to Michigan final season.

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UK’s Calipari: We’re everyone’s Super Bowl

LEXINGTON, Ky. – John Calipari served as the opening act for Kentucky’s banner recruiting class, and the veteran coach knew exactly what to say.

Talking at Massive Blue Madness on Friday evening, Calipari delighted the capability crowd at Rupp Arena with a rousing discuss more paying homage to a campaign cease than a basketball follow.

Kentucky We do not simply play faculty basketball, we are school basketball. As you recognize, we are everyone’s Super Bowl.

- Kentucky coach John Calipari

“The competitors will likely be fierce, the road will be troublesome,” he stated. “Each workforce we play can be more skilled than us. But if we turn out to be one unit, play with one heartbeat and a love for each another, we shall be unbreakable.

“With these gamers, these followers, and this teaching workers, we are going to construct on the greatest tradition in the historical past of school basketball.”

The optimistic tone for Calipari comes in the wake of final season’s catastrophe, when the Wildcats failed to make it to the NCAA tournament and lost to Robert Morris in the first spherical of the NIT.

However the expectations remain excessive in Lexington, thanks to a heralded group of recruits that may comprise a very good portion of Calipari’s regular rotation this year. The seven-man class options ahead Julius Randle, thought-about a preseason candidate for national player of the yr and a doable No. 1 draft decide in the 2014 NBA draft.

“Our largest opponent: ourselves,” Calipari stated. “At Kentucky, we are competing against ourselves day by day. We won’t let the strain and highlight of this program have an effect on you. We’re the place to help you achieve your goals.

“We do not simply play college basketball, we’re college basketball. As you recognize, we are everyone’s Super Bowl.”

Calipari said playing for Kentucky is not for everyone, and he’s assured this 12 months’s team is up to the problem.

The touted recruiting class also includes an identical-twin guards Andrew and Aaron Harrison, and swingman James Young.

[+] EnlargeJohn Calipari

AP Photograph/Timothy D. EasleyKentucky coach John Calipari fires up the crowd on the group’s Large Blue Madness event on Friday night time.

After Calipari’s speak, the Wildcats played a working-clock, 20-minute scrimmage that was principally a showboating show of dunks and three-pointers.

Kentucky’s Massive Blue Insanity – an annual occasion that marks the beginning of the basketball season – attracted several excessive-profile recruits that could be a part of the event in the future. With Washington and New Orleans playing a preseason game at Rupp on Saturday, a handful of NBA gamers additionally were in the crowd.

Washington level guard John Wall and Anthony Davis, Darius Miller and Tyreke Evans of the Pelicans all have been in attendance. Wall, Davis and Miller played for Calipari at Kentucky, and Evans was one in all Calipari’s gamers at Memphis.

Kentucky women’s coach Matthew Mitchell put on a present earlier than Calipari’s look. He was launched as “The Godfather of Soul,” and danced round as James Brown, complete with a wig and sweatsuit.

He then tore the wig and costume away and did a routine to the tune of Britney Spears’ “Child One Extra Time.”

It was another in a long line of memorable displays for Mitchell at Huge Blue Madness. In years previous, he danced to MC Hammer, Michael Jackson and “Teach Me The best way to Dougie” at the occasion.

Mitchell’s Wildcats misplaced within the Elite Eight last season for the third time in 4 years. SEC coaches voted the Wildcats to complete second within the league behind Tennessee.

Copyright 2013 by The Associated Press

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