Michigan State, Georgia to play exhibition in Grand Rapids for storm relief

EAST LANSING, MICH. - Michigan State’s basketball team will play Georgia in a charity exhibition game to help raise funds for hurricane relief, the school announced Monday.

The game will be held at 2 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 29 at Van Andel Arena in Grand Rapids. Money raised will go to help relief efforts in the Bulldogs’ home state and the Bahamas, which is the home of MSU senior guard Tum Tum Nairn.

“This is a great opportunity for our programs to help make an impact with the relief and rebuilding efforts in areas that were affected by this summer’s hurricanes,” MSU coach Tom Izzo said in a statement. “We look forward to playing back in Grand Rapids where we have a strong fan base.”

Tickets start at $17.50, and they will be on sale to the general public starting at 3 p.m. Wednesday. They can be purchased at the Van Andel Arena and DeVos Place box offices, online at Ticketmaster.com, and charge by phone at 1-800-745-3000. Prices are subject to change. Ticket proceeds will benefit American Red Cross – International Services and American Red Cross – Georgia Region.

The two schools received a waiver from the NCAA to hold the exhibition, according to MSU. It will be the Spartans’ third game at Van Andel Arena and their first Grand Rapids game since Nov. 1, 2006. MSU is ranked No. 2 in the preseason USA Today Coaches Poll.

Georgia is led by in Pontiac native and Bloomfield Hills grad Yante Maten, a 6-foot-8 senior forward who was last year’s Southeastern Conference Co-Player of the Year after averaging 18.2 points and 6.9 rebounds per game. The Bulldogs were 19-15 last season and are receiving votes in the preseason USA Today poll.

Izzo’s nephew, Matt Bucklin, is Georgia’s men’s basketball operations coordinator. The Spartans last played the Bulldogs in the first round of the 2015 NCAA tournament, a 70-63 MSU victory in Charlotte, N.C.

“We had schools contact us about, but adding a road game in short notice seemed more difficult than needed,” Georgia coach Mark Fox said in a release. “But this is an opportunity to help the people of the state of Georgia. Hurricane Irma had a significant impact on the DawgNation. … I want to thank Coach Izzo and the administration of MSU for helping to put this together so quickly.”

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© 2017, Detroit Free Press


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