Gonzaga guard Nolan Hickman (11) breaks up a shot by Michigan State guard Pierre Brooks (1) during the first half of the Armed Forces Classic college basketball game held on the flight deck of the USS Abraham Lincoln aircraft carrier, Friday, Nov. 11, 2022, in San Diego. (COLIN MULVANY/THE SPOKESMAN-REVIEW)
SAN DIEGO – Gonzaga trailed for most of the second half, struggling with foul trouble, turnovers and a poor shooting night.
As he has been time and time before, Drew Timme was the difference. The All-American scored 14 second-half points to lift Gonzaga over Michigan State 64-63 on Friday in the Armed Forces Classic.
Neither the Bulldogs (2-0) or the Spartans (1-1) shot well on the deck of the USS Abraham Lincoln. Gonzaga made 4 of 18 3-point attempts, while Michigan State made 3 of 16.
Instead of going inside on its final possession, the Spartans took one last attempt from deep, missing a 3-pointer with four seconds remaining.
Timme made 1 of 2 bonus foul shots to give Gonzaga the lead with 1:51 remaining. The Zags benefited from two missed jumpers from the Spartans and took the clock down to 31 seconds, where Michigan State took over and couldn’t clinch the win.
Timme won the game’s MVP with 22 points and 13 rebounds on 9 of 14 shooting.
Mady Sissoko dominated the first half for the Spartans, who took a 38-31 halftime lead and led by as many as 12 in the second half.
Things won’t get easier for Gonzaga during its opening nonconference stretch. The Zags head to play at No. 12 Texas on Wednesday and play against No. 4 Kentucky at the Spokane Arena on Nov. 20.
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20:00 – GU 0, MSU 0: Gonzaga and Michigan State are nearing tipoff. Windy conditions are expected to impact perimeter shooting and the sun may factor one side of the court.
19:12 – GU 3, MSU 0: Strawther gets Gonzaga’s first shot to fall with a 3-pointer.
17:48 – MSU 6, GU 3: Bolton misses a 3-pointer badly and commits a foul to save a easy layup on the other end. Sissoko makes 1 of 2 free throws for the Spartans, who are 2 of 4 from the field.
15:28 – MSU 8, GU 7: Timme throws the ball out of bounds for a turnover at the first media timeout. Zags aren’t shooting well to start, just 3 of 10 from the field.
Strawther leads with 3 points, as Timme and Hickman each add a basket. Spartans are 3 of 7 from the field.
12:01 – GU 11, MSU 10: Gonzaga gets things going, but only briefly and enter the U12 media timeout on a 2:15 minute scoring drought.
The Zags are playing stingy defense, but haven’t been able to capitalize with four points off five MSU turnovers. Smith entered the game after the U16 timeout and tallied two steals and went 1 of 3 from the field.
Reid committed two turnovers off the bench and was charged with an offensive foul, but earned a jump ball on a block on the other end.
7:41 – MSU 21, GU 17: The Spartans are running in transition and finishing at the rim to take a lead at the U8 media timeout. Watson will have two free throws for the Zags when play resumes.
Hall leading the way for MSU with seven points on 3 of 5 shooting. The Spartans are 9 of 18 from the field. Timme leading for Gonzaga with six. The Zags are 7 of 21 from the field.
3:53 – MSU 27, GU 24: Zags still struggling on offense with a 2:30 minute FG drought at the U4 media timeout. Strawther will shoot two free throws when play resumes.
The Zags are 9 of 25 from the field and 2 of 9 on 3s. They have committed 10 fouls and 8 turnovers, but their defense is keeping them in it with 5 blocks and 7 steals.
MSU isn’t doing much better shooting 11 of 24 from the field, 2 of 8 on 3s and 3 of 7 on free throws.
2:39 – MSU 31, GU 26: With three turnovers since the break, Few calls for a timeout. Smith has four steals, but has three turnovers of his own and has made some poor decisions in transition with zero assists.
Tre Holloman beat the first-half buzzer with an ally-oop layup to give Michigan State its largest lead of the game, 38-31 over Gonzaga at the Armed Forces Classic.
The Zags didn’t have an answer for center Mady Sissoko, especially with Drew Timme, Efton Reid and Anton Watson on the bench with two fouls apiece. Sissoko scored a team-high 10 points with seven rebounds, but was 2 of 7 from the free throw line.
Gonzaga is 10 of 29 from the field and 3 of 12 on 3-pointers. The Bulldogs have been sunk by 12 fouls and 11 turnovers, despite coming away with seven steals and six blocks on the defensive end.
Julian Strawther leads GU with nine points, while Nolan Hickman and Timme have added eight apiece. Just four assists and three fastbreak points for the Zags at half.
17:56 – MSU 41, GU 33: Sissoko picks up right where he left off, giving the Zags trouble inside. Watson is called for two quick fouls and head to the bench. Sissoko with 14 points and nine rebounds.
17:01 – MSU 45, GU 33: Foul after foul after foul … and Few calls for a timeout to regroup as the Zags have totaled five fouls in the first three minutes of the half.
14:13 – MSU 45, GU 40: Zags on a 7-0 run and Timme converts an And-1 to get the Bulldogs back into it.
13:27 – MSU 45, GU 42: Bolton sinks a 15-footer and MSU calls for a timeout to try and halt the 9-0 GU run.
11:29 – MSU 47, GU 44: Walker converts a layup to keep the Spartans in front and snap the GU run at 11 points. Strawther misses a 3-pointer on the other end and Reid is called for his fourth foul at the U12 media timeout.
7:02 – MSU 53, GU 50: Timme gets an And-1 to go and will have a free throw chance when play resumes after the U8 media timeout. Sissoko was called for his fourth foul on the play.
5:01 – MSU 57, GU 55: Timme ties the score at 55, but the Spartans make a pair of free throws on the other end to retake the lead.
Timme doing it all for GU in the second half with 10 points and seven rebounds. He has 18 and 11 in the game.
2:20 – GU 63, MSU 61: Timme rises for a put-back layup to give the Zags the lead at the U4 media timeout.
Smith gave GU its first lead of the half at the 3:11 minute mark with a layup. Both teams trading baskets down the stretch.
1:51 – GU 64, MSU 63: Timme makes 1 of 2 free throws and Sissoko fouls out.
0:15 – GU 64, MSU 63: Izzo calls for a timeout and with a .6 difference between the shot and game clock, the Spartans can play for the final shot.
0:00 – GU 64, MSU 63: Akins heaves a 3-pointer and the Zags will survive after a second-half comeback on the USS Abraham Lincoln.
Gonzaga’s starting five remains unchanged early into the season. Michigan State will start Tyson Walker, A.J. Hoggard, Joey Hauser, Malik Hall and Mady Sissoko.
The stage is set and it’s one of the most unique in sports.
Gonzaga and Michigan State will tip off on the deck of the USS Abraham Lincoln in San Diego, California for the 7th annual Armed Forces Classic today at 3:30 p.m. The game will be broadcast on ESPN.
The No. 2 Bulldogs and the Spartans both rolled their opening opponents, with the Zags defeating North Florida 104-63 and Michigan State beating Northern Arizona 73-55.
The powerhouse programs will tackle two of the toughest nonconference slates in the country. Their run of formidable foes begins with each other.
Gonzaga has the second-highest odds of winning the national title, behind No. 3 Houston, according to vegasinsider.com. The Bulldogs are the overwhelming favorite to win the West Coast Conference for the 11th straight year, with All-American Drew Timme leading an experienced roster that retained three starters and key role players from a season ago.
The Spartans were voted 4th in the Big Ten preseason poll. They were 23-13 a season ago and lost in the second round of the NCAA Tournament to the Duke Blue Devils, who went on to make the Final Four.
The Spartans hold a 4-1 all-time record over the Zags, last playing over a decade ago. Gonzaga’s lone win was a 109-106 triple overtime thriller, where Adam Morrison set the Maui Invitational scoring record with 43 points.
The two teams last played on Dec. 10, 2011, where the Spartans knocked off the No. 23 Bulldogs 74-67 at the McCarthey Athletic Center.
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