The earliest meeting between a No. 1 and No. 2 team played out as well as the rankings indicated.
Second-ranked Michigan State used a late push to take home the win 78-74 against top-ranked Kentucky on Tuesday in Chicago.
Senior point guard Keith Appling led the Spartans with 22 points, eight rebounds and eight assists. Appling also hit a late 3-pointer after Kentucky tied the game 66-66.
The Spartans broke out to a quick 10-0 lead behind forced turnovers and steals, but Kentucky came out strong in the second half and mounted a comeback with MSU big men in foul trouble.
Gary Harris had 20 points with 15 coming in the first half.
Kentucky freshman Julius Randle led all scorers with 27 points and pulled down 13 rebounds.