HONOLULU - For a little while on Friday, Michigan State’s young and anticipated basketball team looked like it might be ready to roll beyond even the most hopeful expectations.
MSU’s reality, it turns out, is a bit more logical.
The Spartans were brilliant, bumbling and just about everything in-between in a 65-63 loss to Arizona in the Armed Forces Classic on the campus of the University of Hawaii.
MSU tied the game when Tum Tum Nairn bounced in a three-point shot with 7 seconds left, but, after a timeout, Arizona’s Kadeem Allen drove the court and laid the ball off the glass and in with just a couple seconds remaining.
Miles Bridges didn’t disappoint in his debut, with 21 points, including several explosive buckets — usually dunks, a couple of them alley-oops.
Fellow freshman Nick Ward also had strong debut, with nine points and confident post play.
The other two members of MSU’s heralded recruiting class, Josh Langford and Cassius Winston, had less impacting debuts, including Langford letting Allen get by him for the game-wining bucket.
The Spartans raced to a 17-2 lead , looking like they might roll pass the Wildcats. Arizona scored 23 of the next 27 points and had some small measure of control until midway through the second half when a spurt led by Bridges, Tum Tum Nairn and Matt McQuaid put MSU’s back in front.
MSU gave back the lead in the final two minutes.
The Spartans’ globe-spanning November stops next in New York, where MSU plays No. 2-ranked Kentucky Tuesday night in Champions Classic.
Graham Couch writes for the Lansing State Journal. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @Graham_Couch.
Lansing State Journal