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Andy Wittry | | December 2, 2020

Champions Classic: Michigan State gets first win at Duke, Kansas overcomes Kentucky

Michigan State's Joey Hauser after huge win: Beating Duke 'is something a lot of guys dream of'

Four top-25 men's basketball teams squared off in one of the biggest regular-season events of the college basketball calendar — the Champions Classic. Duke and Michigan State met in Durham, North Carolina, while Kansas and Kentucky squared off in Indianapolis.

Here's everything you need to know about the games.

No. 8 Michigan State 75, No. 6 Duke 69

The Spartans' first win in Durham

Prior to Tuesday's meeting, Duke and Michigan State had met 16 times, with 11 of those games being played on neutral courts. Michigan State was 0-for-3 all-time at Cameron Indoor Stadium entering the 2020 Champions Classic and with a six-point, come-from-behind win, the Spartans won for the first time on Duke's home floor.

It was just Michigan State's fourth win ever against Duke and its first since beating the Blue Devils in the Elite Eight in 2019.

Dominance on the glass for Michigan State

Michigan State posted a 33-percent offensive rebounding percentage and a 78.6-percent defensive rebounding percentage, outpacing Duke's percentage's of 21.4 percent and 66.7 percent, respectively.

On aggregate, the Spartans were plus-10 in total rebounds, 46 to 36, led by forwards Joey Hauser and Malik Hall both pulling down a team-high 10 rebounds.

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Spartans overcome poor 3-point shooting night

Michigan State made just 5-of-20 3-point attempts. Joey Hauser hit two of his three attempts and three other players made one 3-pointer apiece, but the Spartans saw three times as many misses as makes from deep.

In the Spartans' first two games, they were 19-for-50, or 38 percent.

Matthew Hurt leads the way for the Blue Devils

Hurt, Duke's super sophomore, went for a 21-point, 13-rebound double-double, which led the Blue Devils in both categories. It was just the second double-double of his career and it marked his career-high in rebounds by three.

Three other Duke players reached double figures — Jalen Johnson and Jaemyn Brakefield with 11 each, and Jordan Goldwire with 10.

No. 7 Kansas 65, No. 20 Kentucky 62

The Wildcats' athleticism on full display

All of Kentucky's scholarship players are at least 6-3 and seven of the Wildcats' top nine scorers this season are 6-6 or taller. This season's edition of the 'Cats are long, rangy and athletic, and that athleticism was on full display in Indy, where they blocked 12 shots, including eight from freshman Isaiah Jackson. Jackson finished with seven points, 12 rebounds and eight blocks.

Kansas goes small, really small

When Kansas found itself in a double-digit hole about halfway through the first half, Kansas coach Bill Self sent out five guards and wings without a true big man as an attempt to counter Kentucky's athleticism.

Ultimately, it was a forward, Jalen Wilson, who carried the Jayhawks to victory with a breakout performance featuring 23 points and 10 rebounds. Wilson was a redshirt freshman last season and he nearly matched his scoring output from the last two games (25 points) in just one game against a talented Wildcats squad.

Marcus Garrett powers through

Kansas guard Marcus Garrett, who's the reigning National Defensive Player of the Year, wasn't feeling well on Tuesday — he tested negative for COVID-19 multiple times, according to the ESPN broadcast — and his status was uncertain before the game, but Garrett powered through.

Christian Braun plays bigger than his size

Braun, a 6-6 sophomore guard, led Kansas in rebounds with 13, including six on the offensive end. The Jayhawks grabbed 22 of their 47 missed shots, which translates to an impressive 46.8-percent offensive rebounding rate.

A woeful 3-point shooting night

Kansas and Kentucky combined to shoot 8-of-42 from 3-point range, which is a 19-percent 3-point percentage. Ten players missed every 3-pointer they attempted, including four Kentucky starters, while Kansas' Jalen Wilson and Kentucky's Davion Mintz were both 2-for-5. Mintz hit a running 3-pointer in the closing moments, which cut Kentucky's deficit to 63-62 after it was reviewed. Kansas guard Ochai Agbaji iced the game with a pair of free throws, then Mintz's game-tying 3-point attempt was off the mark, sealing the win for the Jayhawks.

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