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Zags drop 75-71 decision to MSU

An interesting and physical contest Tuesday at the Breslin Center as Michigan State used a late comeback to edge the Bulldogs 75-71.

Gonzaga went toe-to-toe with the Spartans and it looked like they might withstand one last MSU rally. But Durrell Summers drained a 3-pointer with 3 minutes left that launched the Spartans on a 10-4 closing run to pull out the victory.

Below you can find an unedited article that will run in Wednesday's S-R. At the very bottom is the AP article.


Staff and wire report

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 in East Lansing, Mich.

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 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.

Here's the AP story:


EAST LANSING, Mich.  Michigan State’s winning streak at home against nonconference teams was in jeopardy. and their fans refused to let it end against Gonzaga. and I thought we were ready to play," Izzo added. which would’ve perhaps been one of the school’s biggest wins in the regular season but he went home proud.

The second-ranked Spartans

Durrell Summers hit a go-ahead 3-pointer with a few minutes left, made two at the line in the final seconds and finished with 21 points and a career-high 11 rebounds to help No. 2 Michigan State rally for a 75-71 win over the Bulldogs on Tuesday night.

"It was the kind of game we needed, especially this early in the year," Summers said.

The Spartans (2-0) won their 41st straight game at home against a nonconference team, extending a streak that started after a loss to Duke on Dec. 3, 2003.

"There’s no question the crowd won that game for us," Michigan State coach Tom Izzo said. "If you were down there, you could hear it."

Robert Sacre matched a career high with 17 points for the Bulldogs (1-1) despite playing just 19 minutes.

"He was really making a difference in there, then his minutes got limited because of the fouls," Gonzaga coach Mark Few said. "That hurt us."

Gonzaga freshman Elias Harris scored 17, Matt Bouldin had 15 points and Steven Gray added 13.

Kalin Lucas made a layup with 39 seconds left to give Michigan State a three-point lead and finished with 19 points.

Raymar Morgan scored 16 off the bench despite playing on a sprained left ankle and injuring his right ankle in the first half.

"I am really proud of Ray," Izzo said.

Michigan State scored first, then trailed Gonzaga for much of the game.

The Bulldogs led by 13 midway through the first half and were ahead 35-30 at halftime.

They built another double-digit lead early in the second half, but were hurt by the 7-foot Sacre getting called for a third foul and 7-5 reserve Will Foster getting a fourth foul shortly after halftime.

Michigan State freshman Derrick Nix made a putback with 11:52 left in the game to put the home team ahead for the first time since the opening minute.

The Bulldogs, though, refused to wilt in the raucous Breslin Center despite having one of their youngest teams since becoming one of the nation’s stronger programs.

"It’s a terrific college basketball atmosphere," Few said. "Before Thanksgiving, it felt like a game that would clinch a championship game in a league with the energy.

"We played here (in 1997) when I was an assistant with Dan (Monson) and this place has really grown."

Sacre made a shot midway through the second half to put Gonzaga ahead by seven and a fadeaway with 4:42 to go for a 65-61 lead.

The Spartans made enough shots and stops in the final minutes in a game that will get them ready to play Florida, North Carolina and Texas before the Big Ten season.

"It’s a big win for us because we didn’t play real well," Izzo said. "Gonzaga took it to us for at least 30 minutes. I have a lot of respect for Mark and their program.

"They punched us in the mouth, picked us off the ground and punched us again early

Gonzaga, hoping to reload instead of rebuild, also faces a tough schedule with games against Wake Forest, Arizona or Wisconsin, Duke, Oklahoma and Illinois before starting West Coast Conference play.

Few said he had mixed emotions about Tuesday’s game because the Bulldogs had a shot at pulling off an upset

"There’s a lot of positives we can take out of this, certainly how we competed," Few said.



Jim Meehan
Jim Meehan joined The Spokesman-Review in 1990. Jim is currently a reporter for the Sports Desk and covers Gonzaga University basketball, Spokane Empire football, college volleyball and golf.

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