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Spartans Late Rally Against No. 2 Kentucky Comes up Short MSU Official Senior guard Cassius Winston (Detroit, Mich./University of Detroit Jesuit) scored 21 points and sophomore forward Marcus Bingham Jr. (Grand Rapids, Mich./GR Catholic Central) added a career high seven points and six rebounds, but No. 1 Michigan State’s late rally against No. 2 Kentucky fell short in a 69-62 loss in the Champions Classic Tuesday night at Madison Square Garden.

Cassius Winston gets little help in loss to Kentucky Detroit Free Press It is a pressure no Michigan State basketball team ever shouldered, not in Tom Izzo’s first 24 years or with Magic Johnson 40-plus years ago. A No. 1 ranking and the preseason favorite to win it all. By the pollsters and Las Vegas oddsmakers. With the preseason player of the year in Cassius Winston. Then the whistles blew Tuesday night. The outside shots didn’t fall. The comeback came up short. The Spartans’ reign at the top — at least to start the season — will be short-lived.

Short stay at the top: No. 1 MSU’s gaffes exposed in loss to No. 2 Kentucky Detroit News Michigan State’s time as the top team in the nation didn’t last long. The new rankings won’t come out until Monday, but the Spartans will almost certainly give up the No. 1 spot after losing for the fourth straight time in the Champions Classic as No. 2 Kentucky got 26 points from freshman Tyrese Maxey to earn the 69-62 victory at Madison Square Garden.

No. 1 Michigan State stymied by No. 2 Kentucky in tough debut MLive.com The No. 1 Michigan State Spartans looked nothing like the best college basketball team in the country for much of its debut on the sport’s biggest stage. Yet the Spartans still found themselves in a two-point game with a minute left before their comeback ultimately came up short in a 69-62 loss to No. 2 Kentucky on Tuesday night at Madison Square Garden.

Top-ranked Spartans stumble in opener against No. 2 Kentucky Spartan Tailgate
When Michigan State felt comfortable using its full complement of players, the potential that leads to a preseason No. 1 ranking was on display. The more the fouls piled up, though, and the deeper Tom Izzo had to dip into his bench, the further the Spartans strayed from looking like the best team in the country in Tuesday night’s opener against No. 2 Kentucky.

MSU’s heralded freshmen get first taste of the big stage, and it showed Detroit News
Coming into Tuesday night’s game against Kentucky at Madison Square Garden, Michigan State coach Tom Izzo said he wanted his freshmen to feel a little nervous. As Izzo said before No. 1 Michigan State took on No. 2 Kentucky, he wanted “their eyes to pop,” when they entered the mecca of basketball to play in a marquee event with the best teams in the nation.

Michigan State basketball wasn’t worthy of No. 1 ranking. Not yet, anyway Detroit Free Press
Expectation isn’t always Tom Izzo’s friend. He knows it, too. Outsiders take stock of his Michigan State basketball roster and figure it’s worthy of a No. 1 ranking. And maybe it is. Eventually. It’s just not yet. And it showed that Tuesday night at Madison Square Garden, where the Spartans struggled to get out of their own way in a 69-62 loss to No. 2 Kentucky.

Michigan State battles after dismal start but can’t get ‘over that hump’ vs. Kentucky MLive.com
As he sat in front of his locker and replayed the missed opportunities in his head, the regret became palpable in Cassius Winston’s voice. There was the possession with two second-chance opportunities that ended in a turnover, one of 16 on the night. There were the fouls that sent him and plenty of other players to the bench for long stretches.

Bingham gives MSU a spark off the bench in Champions Classic Spartan Tailgate
On the biggest stage, Madison Square Garden, Bingham stepped up to the challenge in a way that’s rarely been seen on game days during his young career for the Spartans. MSU dropped this game, 69-62, and likely will tumble from the No. 1 spot as a result, but it wasn’t a complete loss from every vantage point.

Foul trouble means trial-by-fire for Michigan State’s freshmen vs. Kentucky MLive.com
Kentucky came out on top on the scoreboard against Michigan State on Tuesday night at Madison Square Garden. But over the next five months, Tom Izzo’s still betting on his team to make the more improvements of the two and be ready for the end of the season. “I bet you we get better than they do,” Izzo said. “We’ve got to improve and can improve.”

Game Recap: Michigan State falls to Kentucky in Champions Classic Spartans Wire
Well, that didn’t last long. One late night game into the season and Michigan State will already relinquish their #1 ranking to Kentucky after they fell to the Wildcats 69-62 in the Champions Classic. We have your full game recap to a frustrating, but not discouraging game for the Spartans.

MSU 62 UK 69 in Champions Classic The Only Colors
MSU will fall from the #1 position immediately. After laying a bit of an egg vs UK. Tillman, Henry, and Watts had horror-show first halves, and the deficit (and unreal foul-trouble) were just too much for the Spartans to come back from. MSU missed a shocking number of 3pt shots (about half of their misses, maybe more, of the wide-open variety), and just couldn’t get over the hump despite cutting the UK lead to 1 possession and 2 possessions a couple of times.