Tshiebwe returns, but Spartans beat UK in 2OT
Posted at 2:41 p.m. on Wednesday, November 16, 2022
Reigning National Player of the Year Oscar Tshiebwe returned to action for fourth-place Kentucky on Tuesday night against Michigan State at the Champions Classic in Indianapolis. And, after missing the first two games of this season with knee surgery, Tshiebwe appears to be where he left off last season.
Tshiebwe scored 22 points and grabbed 18 rebounds, his 18th straight double-double, and added four blocks for good measure. Even with all that, Michigan State managed to defeat the Cats 86-77 in double overtime.
While Tshiebwe, who was fouled in the first extra time, picked up where he left off last season, British rookie Cason Wallace also continued his strong start to the season. Wallace had 14 points, five rebounds, five assists and eight steals. The eight interceptions tied the Kentucky school record, which has previously been achieved by three players (Wayne Turner in 1997, Rajon Rondo in 2005 and Ashton Hagans in 2018).
Kentucky (2-1) led late in regulation before Michigan State got a field goal from Malik Hall to tie the game at 62-62 with three seconds left. Kentucky’s uprising at the buzzer missed.
In the first overtime, Kentucky led 71-69 before Hall struck again, this time with a second left. He tied the game and sent it to double overtime.
The bad news for the Cats, at that time, was that Tshiebwe had fouled in the first extra session and the UK had been forced to play without him for the final five minutes.
That’s when Michigan State (2-1), after a 64-63 loss to No. 2 Gonzaga, took control of the game. The Spartans outscored Kentucky 15-6 in the second overtime, including an 8-0 run after being tied 76-76.
Britain’s head coach John Calipari was blamed for his team’s inability to get the job done down the stretch and in both extra time.
“I just saw (coach) Tom (Izzo) in the hallway and said you were more ready to finish than us,” Kentucky coach John Calipari said.
“When you talk about end-game situations, it depends on me as a coach. They executed better than us and it depends on me.
Kentucky got 16 points, eight assists and two steals from Sahvir Wheeler, along with 10 points and four rebounds from Jacob Toppin.
Michigan State hit 23 of 27 from the free throw line for 85.2%. Meanwhile, Kentucky only made 16 of 24 charity pitches for 66.7 percent.
The Wildcats lost to Saint Peter’s at the same venue in the first round of the NCAA Tournament last year and recent Champions Classic struggles continued for Kentucky, who are 1-5 in their last six appearances. in the event at a neutral site.
Kentucky hosts South Carolina State at 7 p.m. Thursday at Rupp Arena.