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Bruce Pascoe | The Arizona Daily Star | November 12, 2016

Arizona edges MSU in Armed Forces Classic thriller

  Arizona Wildcats guard Kadeem Allen (5) made the game-winning layup against Michigan State on Friday.

HONOLULU โ€” Kadeem Allen took an inbounds pass all the way downcourt with seven seconds left and made a layup to give the Arizona Wildcats a dramatic 65-63 win in the first game of the Armed Forces Classic doubleheader on Friday.

Allen also deflected a final MSU pass as time expired, then fell backward against the scorer's table while mobbed by celebrating teammates.

His heroics capped a tight game in the second half and helped erase the memory of a difficult start for the Wildcats, one where they fell behind 17-2 before later going on a 17-0 run.

As the game wound down, Michigan State guard Tum Tum Nairn had tied the game at 63 with a three-pointer with seven seconds while Parker Jackson-Cartwright pulled down a defensive rebound and made an eight-footer on the other end of the court to give UA a 63-60 lead.

Kobi Simmons led the Wildcats with 18 points before leaving with an apparent ankle injury late in the game while Lauri Markkanen had 13 points and six rebounds. Miles Bridges had 19 points and six rebounds for Michigan State.

With four minutes left, both Jackson-Cartwright and Bridges were called for technicals when they continued jawing at each other despite a warning from an official.

Matt McQuaid's second three-pointer of the game tied it at 43 with 13:40 to go, with Miles Bridges and Nick Ward having hurt Arizona inside after the Wildcats' built a nine-point lead earlier in the half.

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Despite a thundering backdoor alley-oop layup dunk by Bridges -- a powerful version of the same thing that confounded UA defensively early in the game -- the Wildcats managed to expaned their 34-30 halftime lead up to 43-34 through the first 3:43 of the second half.

During that stretch, the Spartans also lost starting center Kenny Goins, who appeared to hurt his previously injured knee. An MSU trainer took off Goins' knee brace to examine him on the bench.

In the first half, Simmons came off the bench to help shake the Arizona Wildcats out of some severe early doldrums in their Armed Forces Classic game against Michigan State, with Arizona taking a 34-30 halftime lead.

Simmons scored 15 points on 4-for-5 shooting while hitting 2 of 3 three-pointers he took, while Markkanen added a 2-for-2 performance from long range against the smaller Spartans.

But Arizona sputtered on both ends of the court early, unable to guard Bridges and going without a single point for nearly the first four minutes. Simmons eventually helped fill that void, scoring his first 13 points over a 12-minute period in the middle of the first half.

Simmons scored soon after entering the game, hitting a 10-footer, with 16:02 left in the half, and showed a confidence that his teammates didn't have early. Before long, the Wildcats managed to erase a 17-2 deficit and kept going into a 25-21 lead by going on a 17-0 run and finding a way to defend the Spartans.

Arizona coach Sean Miller mixed in his big men, often playing power forward Keanu Pinder at small forward, but the Wildcats couldn't always capitalize on their size advantage. MSU still managed to outrebound the Wildcats 18-16 for the half.

Appearing to lack cohesion and confidence early, the Wildcats fell quickly behind 17-2. Arizona committed four early offensive fouls while missing its first two shots. Among other miscues, Markkanen threw the ball past the midcourt line, and Kadeem Allen was called for a charge.

This article was written by Bruce Pascoe from The Arizona Daily Star, Tucson and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.


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