Gonzaga took it to No. 2 Michigan State from the opening tip, leading by as many as 13, before the Spartans rallied within 35-30 lead at half.
Center Robert Sacre, despite sitting for a several minutes with two fouls, worked inside for 10 points of 5 of 7 shooting. Forward Elias Harris added eight points and five rebounds. Steven Gray and Matt Bouldin combined to make just 3 of 14 shots. Bouldin had four assists.
GU’s bench chipped in eight points, four by Kelly Olynyk and two each from Will Foster and G.J. Vilarino.
Gray’s 3-pointer gave Gonzaga the lead for good, 3-2, about 70 seconds in. Sacre scored eight straight points as GU stretched the margin to 11-3 as Michigan State went 5 1/2 minutes between field goals.
Gonzaga was in front 23-10 after Olynyk’s layup on a feed from Bouldin. The Spartans, who made just 32.1 percent of their shots, finally found some offense, much of it coming at the foul line. Seven free throws and a couple of interior buckets (with Sacre on the bench) brought MSU within three, but Sacre returned and scored on a short bank shot and Gray added two free throws to make it 35-30 at half.
Kalin Lucas, the 2009 Big Ten player of the year, had nine points for the Spartans, who held a 21-18 rebounding edge. MSU committed 13 turnovers and made just 1 of 5 3-pointers. GU was 1 of 7 on 3s.