It’s official! College basketball is back, and we were greeted with some primetime matchups last weekend right out of the gate.
Coming off the heels of Veteran’s Day, the annual Armed Forces Classic was played on Friday night, and it featured two titanic matchups.
The first matchup was a classic.
The 9th ranked Arizona Wildcats took on the 13th ranked Michigan State Spartans in a game that came down to the final shot.
The game started off with a 17-2 Michigan State run from the starting tip as they seemingly had the Wildcats overmatched throughout the early going. However, Arizona would rally late in the half and go on a 17-0 run of their own, to pull within four points at halftime as Michigan State led 34-30.
The second half was a back and forth affair of spectacular plays and clutch shots.
Michigan State Freshman Miles Bridges put on a show most of the night, with great high-flying dunks, dazzling moves off the dribble and the ability to knock down the three point shot. He finished with 19 points and six rebounds.
As the game entered the late stages, the play got more physical in what felt like a March Madness game.
With four minutes left in the game, Arizona’s Parker Jackson-Cartwright and Miles Bridges were each assessed technical fouls after jawing at each other at half court in the heat of the ball game.
In the final seconds, Michigan State guard Tum Tum Nairn nailed a clutch three pointer to ice the game at 63 a piece with seven seconds left. The possession before, Jackson-Cartwright had pulled down an offensive rebound and put back for the Wildcats giving them the 63-60 lead.
Then magic happened.
With seven seconds, Wildcat guard Kadeem Allen took the inbounds pass, dribbled the length of the court and kissed a tightly contested lay-up off the glass and in to give Arizona the 65-63 lead.
With a tenths of a second remaining, Allen also made the game saving play on defense as he deflected a pass coming from Michigan State and time expired as Allen dropped to the floor near the scorer’s table, filled with emotion, and his teammates all around him.
With Allen’s game-winning lay-up, College basketball is back in our lives in a big way all the way until April.
We wouldn’t have it any other way.
Who’s your pick to win the National Championship this year? Let’s talk about it here or find me on Twitter @Phenombc3