2022 State Farm Champions Classic delivers in both games

Indianapolis was host to the 2022 State Farm Champions Classic and Kentucky was looking for redemption as they returned to Indy for the first time since being upset by St. Peter’s in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament.

The four teams selected to play this year were Kansas, Michigan, Duke and Kentucky. If you look at the history, it’s clear these four teams are very familiar with each other.  Last year in New York, Kansas met with Michigan St. where the score was 87-74. As for Duke and Kentucky they had a final score of 79-71.

The opening game saw Michigan State take on Kentucky while Duke faced Kansas in the second game.

In the first half both teams put up similar points with the score of Michigan 36 and Kentucky 34.  With points like it’s no surprise that the teams were very close in stats.  Both teams were in the 40’s on field goal percentage. As for free throws Michigan St. shot 100% and Kentucky shot 80%. As for 3-point Field goals Michigan St. was at 38.5% and Kentucky was at 20%

After a hard-fought battle and not one but two overtimes Michigan St overcame Kentucky with a finial score of 86 to 77.  While neither team could catch a break these two teams stayed neck and neck for over 40 minutes.  Their stats spoke for themselves. The Spartans’ field goal percentage was 40.6 while Kentucky’s was 38.6.

The free throw percentage was 85.2 for Michigan St and 66.7 for Kentucky. Lastly, 3-point field goals were Michigan St 36.8 and Kentucky 28.0.

Clearly these teams had some great key players who really brought their A game. Kentucky’s Cason Wallas had 14 points, 5 rebounds, and 5 assists while his teammate- the returning Oscar Tshiebwe had 22points, 18 rebounds, and 2 assists. Not to be out done, Michigan State’s Joey Hauser had 23 points, 8 rebounds, and 1 assist. Malik Hall was right behind him with 20 points, 5 rebounds, and 0 assists.

Both teams in this game came onto the court with one thing on their mind and that was a win for their team. After battling it out for 40 minutes neither team backed down and they went into two overtimes. It’s going to be exciting to see how these two teams continue to play going forward.

In the second game of the 2022 State Farm Champions Classic, Kansas took on Duke.

Kansas took a small lead in the first half with a score of 33-29.  Jalen Wilson was on fire for Kansas with 10 points, 6 rebounds, and 3 assists. He wasn’t alone as Kevin McCoullar Jr. had 8 points and 4 assists.

Duke, on the other hand, did not disappoint anyone with Jeremy Roach scoring 11 points, while Kyle Filipowski helped with his own 7 points, 5 rebounds, and 2 assists. This game is far from over.

After the start of the second half Duke fought back had pulling ahead for a short while, but Kansas had more in the tank and the teams went back and forth with the lead. As the clock wound down it looked as if this game would also go into overtime, but Kansas gave it all they had and scored the victory with a final score 64 to 69.

Both teams played very well on offence and defense.  Duke’s key players were Filipowski, who finished the night with 17 points, 14 rebounds, and 1 assist and Roach who had 16 points, 4 rebounds and 1 assist.  Alas Kansas key players did a little better.

Kansas’ Wilson ended his night with 25 points, 11 rebounds, and 5 assists while McCullar had 12 points, 6 rebounds, and two assists.

In the end the overall team stats are what spoke for themselves. Kansas was at 46.3% on field goals, 57.1% on free throws, and 15.8% on 3-point field goals.  Duke was off by about 10% on the field goals have 35.8% but made up for it in free throws with 81.3%.  Dukes 3-point field goals were on par with Kansas’s. They had 14.3%.

After all was said and done both teams did what they are known for and that would be coming to court and playing some hard-fought basketball. Coaches on both teams knew it was going to be tough and they had work to do. But they sure were proud of their boys.

-Tim Stepp

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