Kentucky is 1-0 after beating No. 1 in the Champions Classic.
Behind a suffocating defense and a marvelous performance by freshman Tyrese Maxey, the 2nd-ranked Wildcats upset the top-ranked Spartans 69-62.
Maxey led all Champion Classic scorers with 26 points. Sophomore guards Ashton Hagans and Immanuel Quickley combined for 21 points while helping hold Spartans All-American guard Cassius Winston to 5/12 shooting and four assists vs. four turnovers.
Speaking of, the young Wildcats forced the veteran Spartans into a game-high 16 turnovers while shooting a meager 22/56 (39.2%) from the field and 5/26 (19.2%) from deep.
First, an honorable mention goes out to the overall team defense. That was one of the best defensive games of the John Calipari era, so hats off to every player tonight who made it possible.
Now, there’s no doubt the MVP-winner tonight is one Tyrese Maxey. For a guy that was being billed as a future lottery pick and the favorite to lead Kentucky in scoring, we all may have undersold him.
On a court that saw the nation’s top two teams, multiple all-conference players, an Al-American, and future NBA Draft picks, Maxey was the best player on the floor. Heck, he was the best player of any of the four teams that played in New York tonight (it was the top four teams in basketball, fwiw).
So yeah, what Maxey did tonight in his first official collegiate game was pretty damn special.
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