Zags stumble late
Spartans rally past Gonzaga
EAST LANSING, Mich. – Gonzaga led most of the way and turned back numerous Michigan State rallies.
But in the closing minutes, the second-ranked Spartans finally caught and passed the Bulldogs on Durrell Summers’ 3-pointer at the 3-minute mark and went on to claim a 75-71 men’s basketball victory Tuesday at the Breslin Center.
Summers’ 3 – his only 3-point attempt of the game – put Michigan State on top 68-67, its first lead since briefly moving in front 47-45 with 11:50 remaining. Summers created just enough open space after coming around a screen at the top of the circle to hit his clutch shot.
Kalin Lucas made 1 of 2 free throws to bump the lead to two. Chris Allen misfired on a jumper from the wing, but he grabbed the rebound and fed Raymar Morgan for a layup and a 71-67 lead with 2:06 left. Steven Gray scored in the lane and Elias Harris made 1 of 2 free throws to bring GU within 71-70 with 1:08 remaining.
Lucas, the Big Ten player of the year in 2009, drove around Demetri Goodson, side-stepped center Robert Sacre and hit a scoop shot. Down by 3, Gray missed two 3-point attempts – the first rattled in and out – but Gonzaga had another chance after Draymond Green went 0 of 2 at the foul line with 13.8 seconds left.
Goodson was fouled driving to the basket and made 1 of 2 free throws. The Spartans struggled to inbound the ball, but finally got it to Summers, who was fouled immediately. Summers, who scored 17 of his team-high 21 points in the second half, made both free throws to seal MSU’s 41st straight home win over a non-conference opponent.
“You come in and play a Michigan State team and (coach) Tom Izzo team and the first thing you have to do is compete,” Gonzaga coach Mark Few said. “Our guys really competed and battled, and I thought we executed pretty darn well. We executed well enough to get some great looks, they just didn’t go down.”
The unranked Bulldogs (1-1) controlled the game at the outset as Sacre and Harris worked effectively inside, but those two, backup center Will Foster and forward Kelly Olynyk were in foul trouble most of the second half.
Sacre scored eight straight points, helping GU take an 11-3 lead. Sacre and Harris combined for 18 points as the Bulldogs, who led by as many as 13, settled for a 35-30 edge at half.
“They punched us in the mouth, picked us off the ground and punched us again early – and I thought we were ready to play,” Izzo said.
The Bulldogs scored the first five points of the second half to stretch their lead to 10, but the fouls started stacking up, sending Harris and particularly Sacre to the bench for extended minutes. After MSU (2-0) went on top 47-45, Sacre scored on a nice pass from Gray and was fouled. Sacre’s free throw gave GU a 48-47 lead. Matt Bouldin’s four-point play – he was fouled while making a 3-pointer – hiked Gonzaga’s lead to five.
The Bulldogs led by as many as seven before MSU battled back.
“It was tough to have Rob and ‘E’ (Elias) in foul trouble the entire second half,” Few said. “We were trying to sub for them on defense. Rob was really making a difference in there, as was Elias. I was proud of some of our young guys. They really gave us some good minutes.”
Summers’ layup tied it at 65. Gray made a pair of free throws with 3:18 remaining to give GU its last lead, 67-65.
Sacre, who only played 19 minutes, and Harris each scored 17 points. Bouldin and Gray combined for 28 points, but they made just 8 of 29 field-goal attempts, including 3 of 15 3-pointers.
Gonzaga entertains Indiana-Purdue Fort Wayne on Friday.