It was a slow start offensively for both teams, but it was the Cats holding a slim 6-4 lead at the first media timeout.
Coming into this one, we all knew that the Spartans were going to be stout defensively. However, a Sahvir Wheeler layup with just under 9 minutes to go in the half put the Cats up 20-13.
Unfortunately, the Cats’ defense started having too many breakdowns down the final stretch of the half leading to a lot of open looks for the Spartans.
To their credit, they took advantage of those looks, and it was Michigan State taking a 36-34 lead into the break.
The second half didn’t get off to a great start for the Cats as the Spartans quickly made it a 39-34 ballgame.
However, the Cats responded in a big way. After falling behind 42-39, the Cats went on a quick 7-0 run to take a 46-42 lead at the under 12 media timeout.
Neither team was able to pull away, and at the under 8 media timeout it was the Cats holding on to a slim 50-49 lead.
The Spartans took a 52-51 lead, but the Cats strike right back as a dunk by Tshiebwe, followed by a block by Tshiebwe, led to an open three by Fredrick to make it 56-52 with 5:21 left to play.
Both teams battled down the stretch, but the Spartans were able to tie it at 62 with three seconds to play sending this one to OT.
The Cats jumped out to a 67-62 lead early in OT, but the Spartans battled back and once again got an easy dunk to tie the game at 71 and force a second OT.
Without Tshiebwe on the floor, it really made it tough for the Cats on both ends of the floor.
Kentucky had their chances in the second OT, but couldn’t put the game away as the Spartans took over late and went on to get the 86-77 win.
Here is how Twitter reacted to the tough loss:
It’s hard to beat the Champions Classic— BEEZY (@Burke_Franklin_) November 16, 2022
Always feels like the official start to basketball season #BBN
Oscar Tshiebwe’s I am Oscar kicks! pic.twitter.com/2ON1pCTMCb— Big Blue Drew (@BigBlueDrew33) November 15, 2022
Chills when the Big O checked in.— Big Blue Drew (@BigBlueDrew33) November 16, 2022
Oscar picking up where he left off.— (@TheA1God) November 16, 2022
Oscar Tshiebwe gets his first bucket of the season: a rebound and putback.— Jack Pilgrim (@JackPilgrimKSR) November 16, 2022
Not a great switch, but defense has been pretty good so far.— Justin Rowland (@RowlandRIVALS) November 16, 2022
College basketball officiating, oh how I missed you. No, not really.— Chris Fisher (@ChrisFisher247) November 16, 2022
Sahvir Wheeler carving up Michigan State on his way to the rim.— TheCatsPause247 (@TheCatsPause247) November 16, 2022
Gotta respond to that run— The Kentucky Logo (@TheKentuckyLogo) November 16, 2022
That’s such a trash charge call on Reeves— Derek Terry (@DerekSTerry) November 16, 2022
Shooters don’t get spots to land anymore— T.J. Walker (@TJWalkerRadio) November 16, 2022
Love something as much as college basketball refs love charges.— Nick Roush (@RoushKSR) November 16, 2022
Beautiful pass to Oscar by Cason— Cody Couch (@Couch_29) November 16, 2022
OSCAR ALREADY HAS ANOTHER DOUBLE DOUBLE
Cason Wallace is one of the most advanced freshmen I can remember in the Cal era. That kid is really good.— Derek Terry (@DerekSTerry) November 16, 2022
Cason Wallace defending like crazy, already nailed a 3, nice drive and kick to Reeves for a 3, great drive and wrap-around to Tshiebwe for the slam. Freshman playing great in his first big game.— Kyle Tucker (@KyleTucker_ATH) November 16, 2022
Five points, five steals (!!!), three assists, two rebounds, zero turnovers.
Gotta stop giving them free buckets in transition. Especially after we score— Big Blue Nation #BBN (@UKBasketbalI) November 16, 2022
Cason does it all. He is the type of guy you want on your team if you want to win a national championship.— Matt “Spikeball SZN” Sak (@MattSakBBN) November 16, 2022
Amazing that Oscar has his 17th straight double-double in a game like this after not playing for a month— Vaughts' Views (@vaughtsviews) November 16, 2022
If Kentucky really wants to go on that run probably need to stop the early clock threes and run the offense.— Justin Rowland (@RowlandRIVALS) November 16, 2022
CJ has 0 points with 9 minutes left— Cody Couch (@Couch_29) November 16, 2022
Definitely need more from our shooter
Cason Wallace’s hands on Defense are so fast— Matt Jones (@KySportsRadio) November 16, 2022
Oscar Tshiebwe remains the best player in college basketball.— Eric Lindsey (@EricLindsey7) November 16, 2022
College basketball officiating is simply the worst.— Jack Pilgrim (@JackPilgrimKSR) November 16, 2022
You guys know I rarely ever go over the top ripping the refs but these guys have been terrible.— Justin Rowland (@RowlandRIVALS) November 16, 2022
I can’t believe Oscar took that shot in that situation. Man that could be extremely costly— BEEZY (@Burke_Franklin_) November 16, 2022
Anyone else’s heart beating faster than normal— Barstool Kentucky (@BarstoolUK) November 16, 2022
SMH.— Joshua Moore (@JoshMooreHL) November 16, 2022
Well that was terrible— Matt Jones (@KySportsRadio) November 16, 2022
Overtime. What a frustrating last couple of minutes of Regulation
Naturally, Sahvir Wheeler with the monster 3, pure as can be, in overtime.— Kyle Tucker (@KyleTucker_ATH) November 16, 2022
Miss the foul call on Sissoko and foul Oscar out on that. Awesome job all around— Bobby Reagan (@BarstoolReags) November 16, 2022
WOWZA.— Kyle Tucker (@KyleTucker_ATH) November 16, 2022
Malik Hall blows by CJ Fredrick for the tying dunk with a second to go.
Kentucky 71, Michigan State 71 ... but the Cats play the second OT without Oscar. Huge problem.
That dime by Sahvir! Are you serious? Drew like 9 defenders there— Big Blue Drew (@BigBlueDrew33) November 16, 2022
Calipari about to combust. Why on earth did the officials stop that play? He'd sure like to know.— Kyle Tucker (@KyleTucker_ATH) November 16, 2022
Baffled by the officiating in this game. Unfathomably poor.— Jack Pilgrim (@JackPilgrimKSR) November 16, 2022
This stage was too big for everyone but Oscar.— (@TheA1God) November 16, 2022
Kentucky defends for the full clock and then gives up the lob dunk. Wheeler shoots it off the side of the backboard. It's over here in Indy.— Kyle Tucker (@KyleTucker_ATH) November 16, 2022
Another "how did that just happen?" in this building for the Cats.
The contrast is staggering between the offensive structures.— Sean Vinsel (@HoopsInsight) November 16, 2022
— Tyrese Maxey (@TyreseMaxey) November 16, 2022
I’m tired of losing these games man. Such an inferior team and Cal is still running an offense that’s meant to be ran in the 70’s— Ian Teasley (@ianteasley) November 16, 2022
The last 3 minutes of regulation and both Overtimes were everything that has frustrated UK fans for the last 2 years on repeat— Matt Jones (@KySportsRadio) November 16, 2022
- Bad/Stagnant Offense
- Poor Free Throws
- Odd Lineups
- Defensive Breakdowns
- Set plays to perfection by other team
Interested in the fan reaction to this. I don't see anything concerning or that can't be improved in the big picture, but fans are pretty desperate for this year to go extremely well.— Justin Rowland (@RowlandRIVALS) November 16, 2022
Final from Indy. pic.twitter.com/o93JV2RcHW— Kentucky Men’s Basketball (@KentuckyMBB) November 16, 2022