Nov 12, 2013; Chicago, IL, USA; Michigan State Spartans guard Denzel Valentine (45) and Kentucky Wildcats forward Alex Poythress (22) fight for the ball during the first half at the United Center. Mandatory Credit: David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

Champions Classic: Michigan State Spartans lead Kentucky Wildcats 44-32 at half

If you were expecting for Kentucky to be leading at halftime, think again. This is the top-ranked team in the country, but on paper. The Spartans got out to a quick 10-0 start before the first media timeout, and took a commanding lead into halftime, over the Cats. UK came out shooting 2-for-10 from the field with seven turnovers all within the first four minutes of the half. The Spartans used a mix of 3-2 zone defense and man defense to keep the Cats from driving and feeding the ball inside to Julius Randle and Willie Cauley-Stein. Gary Harris took command early, and he also had some held from Adreian Payne. Randle had a tough time making a move on the block and committed a few turnovers. Fouls also hurt UK; Aaron Harrison went to the bench early with two fouls.

The Cats overall finished with nine turnovers in the half. The Cats toughened up and went blow for blow with the Spartans in the last four minutes. UK had some big plays from their wings, Young and Poythress. Young finished with 15 points in the first half, while Cauley-Stein and Poythress both had five. Randle had four points and four rebounds 1-for-5 shooting. Harris finished the first half with 15 points for the Spartans and Payne had 12 points and three rebounds. Keith Appling chipped in seven points.

Tags: Basketball Articles Champions Classic Kentucky Wildcats Michigan State Spartans

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