In front of thousands of veterans in the Armed Forces Classic, No. 2 Gonzaga survived Michigan State, pulling out the victory 64-63.
It was a battle until the final buzzer on the USS Abraham Lincoln. The Zags overcame a double-digit second-half deficit to stave off a loss to an unranked opponent.
Drew Timme, despite a difficult first half, led the game in scoring 22 (14 in the second) to go along with 13 rebounds and four assists. z
Michigan State came out in camo green eager to pounce on the No. 2 team in the country. The Spartans scored 13 points off 18 turnovers. That, paired with the Zags shooting a low percentage, created a supreme advantage early.
Halfway through the second, Gonzaga woke up, going on an 11-2 run to close the gap, taking its first lead since 15-14 late in the second.
Spartans leading scorer Mady Sissoko had an early 10 points in the first, but couldn’t build on that momentum much like his teammates. He finished with 14 points and nine rebounds, fouling out with under left to play.
Both teams missed multiple free throws, but Michigan had a slight advantage, edging Gonzaga's shooting percentage, 64% to 63%.
The environment, while exciting, created certain unusual variables for both opponents. For the entirety of the first half, the setting San Diego sun created a shooting barrier, but it was exciting to have this classic back after a three-year hiatus.
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