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The Journal Gazette

  • Adam Hunger | Associated Press Michigan forward Xavier Tillman (23) falls to the court in front of Kentucky forward Nick Richards (4) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game Tuesday in New York.

Wednesday, November 06, 2019 12:28 am

Maxey leads No. 2 Kentucky past No. 1 Michigan State 69-62

Associated Press

NEW YORK – Tyrese Maxey, Kentucky's latest freshman star, scored 26 points and the second-ranked Wildcats opened the season with a 69-62 victory against No. 1 Michigan State on Tuesday night in the Champions Classic at Madison Square Garden.

The Nos. 1 and 2 teams opened their seasons against each other for the first time since 1975 and the Wildcats made their case to be top-ranked next week.

Michigan State entered the season as the No. 1 team in the country for the first time, but aside from All-American Cassius Winston, the Spartans struggled to score. Winston had 21 points.

This Kentucky team is built around returning contributors instead of one-and-done freshmen, but Maxey asserted himself in his first game.

After Winston cut the lead to three on a three-point play with 1:27 left, Maxey hit a straight on 3 from way behind the line to make it 65-60 with 59 seconds left.