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No. 2 Mich. St. tops No. 1 Kentucky

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CHICAGO — With Keith Appling, Gary Harris and Adreian Payne all scoring in double figures for No. 2 Michigan State, Branden Dawson came up with the biggest basket, tipping in a miss with less than six seconds left to give the Spartans a 78-74 victory over top-ranked Kentucky on Tuesday night.

James Young missed a 3-pointer at the buzzer, and the Spartans erupted in delight, with Harris holding up his index finger.

No. 1, indeed.

It was the earliest meeting of 1 vs. 2, and the first since 2008, and the matchup did not disappoint for many who see it as a sneak preview of the Final Four. Julius Randle had 23 of his 27 points in the second half, as the Wildcats (2-1) erased a 13-point deficit. But they couldn’t overcome their troubles at the free throw line, going a dismal 20 of 36.

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