DETROIT (Ticker) -- In front of the biggest basketball crowd in history, Gerald Fitch dealt Michigan State another high-profile loss.
Fitch scored 25 points and Chuck Hayes added a big basket down the stretch as No. 2 Kentucky handed the 20th-ranked Spartans a 79-74 defeat.
The nationally televised game, dubbed the BasketBowl, set a world record for basketball attendance, with 78,129 fans filling Ford Field. It surpassed a crowd of 75,000 for a Harlem Globetrotters' exhibition in Berlin in 1951.
"Hats off to whoever arranged it," Kentucky coach Tubby Smith said. "They did a magnificent job, because you didn't have the feel of a dome. It was a festive atmosphere. It was a real happening event."
The previous NCAA record was 68,112, set when Louisiana State cruised to an 87-64 rout of Notre Dame at the Louisiana Superdome on January 20, 1990.
Michigan State (3-4) lost its third straight game. All four of its defeats have come as part of a beefed-up non-conference schedule. The Spartans also have fallen to Kansas, Duke and Oklahoma and may fall out of the rankings.
Fitch scored seven points in the final five minutes for Kentucky (5-0), which nearly blew a big lead. Freshman Shannon Brown made a pair from the line with 64 seconds to go, pulling Michigan State within 74-72.
The Wildcats went inside to Hayes, who scored 17 points, and the Spartans elected not to double-team. Hayes easily dropped in a hook over Paul Davis with 45 seconds left.
"I had a lot of adrenaline pumping," Hayes said. "Now we're in the history books and we're going down with a big-time win in front of a record crowd."
Hayes, who also grabbed 12 rebounds, played for Spartans coach Tom Izzo in the offseason on the United States' Pan Am Games team.
"He's a unique kid," Izzo said. "We have to find ways to make plays in the end like he did."
Davis' layup 17 seconds later again cut the deficit to two points before Fitch made 3-of-4 at the line for the final margin.
There were concerns that the size of the venue would hamper the shooting early. The court was placed in the middle of the dome to configure the building for the large attendance. Most games in domed stadiums have the building sectioned off and the court placed on one end.
Kentucky put those concerns to rest by starting off strong and shooting 60 percent (20-of-30) in the first half, leading by as many as 15 points before settling for a 49-43 advantage. The Wildcats never trailed in the second half, withstanding a series of runs by the Spartans.
"It got loud at times, but we locked the noise out and focused on the game at hand," Wildcats guard Cliff Hawkins said. "We didn't get caught up in the atmosphere."
Fitch made 7-of-11 shots, exploiting Michigan State's porous perimeter defense. Erik Daniels also contributed before fouling out with 16 points for the Wildcats.
Davis collected 24 points and eight rebounds, draining all 14 foul shots. Brown netted 14 points and Chris Hill chipped in 13 for the Spartans, who have yet to defeat a ranked team.
"I think the first half definitely lost us the game," Davis said. "They got too many easy buckets. "