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HomeLatestNo. 2 Gonzaga battles Michigan State on USS Abraham Lincoln

No. 2 Gonzaga battles Michigan State on USS Abraham Lincoln

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Friday is the 11-year anniversary of when Michigan State misplaced to North Carolina on the flight deck of a Naval plane service in San Diego.

The Spartans will give it one other strive on Veterans Day once they battle No. 2 Gonzaga on the deck of the USS Abraham Lincoln in San Diego harbor within the ArmedForces Classic.

Michigan State coach Tom Izzo loved the expertise on the USS Carl Vinson in 2011 if not the end result of The Carrier Classic — a 67-55 loss — and was wanting to carry his present staff west for a contest on one other service in San Diego.

“We will get a chance to get on the ship and shoot a little bit, and practice a little bit,” Izzo stated after Monday’s season-opening 73-55 win over Northern Arizona. “It’s exciting.”

Izzo has referred to the 2011 recreation as “one of the most humbling experiences of my career.”

The Spartans additionally misplaced to UConn within the 2012 Armed Forces Classic in Germany and to Arizona within the 2016 occasion in Honolulu.

Gonzaga was slated to play Pitt within the 2015 Armed Forces Classic in Japan however the contest was canceled as a result of a slippery flooring.

Of course, Izzo is conscious his Spartans (1-0) will face fairly a problem enjoying Mark Few’s high-powered Bulldogs (1-0).

“I’m really looking forward to it,” Izzo stated. “We’re playing a good team, and a really well-coached team. Mark and I are good friends. We’re on a board together. We will have to play a lot better than we did (Monday).”

Gonzaga went on a 26-0 run early in its opener because it trounced North Florida 104-63.

Preseason All-American Drew Timme scored 22 factors and the Zags received a powerful efficiency from Malachi Smith, a switch from Chattanooga who was the Southern Conference Player of the Year final season.

Smith had 15 factors on 7-of-10 taking pictures and made a powerful impression on his teammates, together with Timme.

“He just has a knack for scoring,” Timme stated. “He is aware of the positions he must get in, he simply is aware of tips on how to transfer with out the ball, is aware of tips on how to play with the ball.

“I think he’s exactly what we knew we were getting when we got him. He’s a player of the year in conference caliber of player. He is that good.”

It was no shock that Gonzaga was clicking offensively, although the staff’s 63.2 taking pictures share was increased than anticipated for an opener.

The Bulldogs led the nation in scoring final season at 87.2 factors per recreation. Defense would be the factor to observe towards the Spartans.

“Look, offense is probably not going to be a problem that many times for us,” Timme stated. “I think we’ve established we can put the ball in the basket. I think defense could be our Achilles’ heel eventually and that’s something we’re trying to attack head on and I think Coach (Few) has done a good job of really drilling that in our heads and I think we’re doing a good job of responding.”

As for Michigan State, Joey Hauser contributed 18 factors and 10 rebounds within the win over Northern Arizona. Pierre Brooks added 14 and made 4 3-pointers.

The Spartans restricted the Lumberjacks to 31.7 p.c from the sector.

Michigan State has received 4 of its earlier 5 conferences with Gonzaga. The Bulldogs’ lone win was memorable — 109-106 in triple extra time within the 2005 Maui Invitational semifinals.

–Field Level Media

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