Sunday, October 24, 2021

SPORTS UPDATE: Men's basketball team falls short in Great Alaska Shootout

December 1, 2002

Despite being heavy favorites, No. 10 MSU failed to capture the Great Alaska Shootout championship.

The Spartans (2-2) were the only ranked team in Anchorage, Alaska, during the holiday weekend, but the Green and White finished 1-2.

MSU opened the tournament strong, defeating Montana, 80-60. Sophomore guard Chris Hill lead the charge with team highs in points, 23, assists, six, and rebounds, five.

The Spartans opened the game with a 16-3 run. The Grizzlies pulled within two points at 19-17, but MSU finished the first half up 37-29.

The second half opened with a 9-0 Spartan run as MSU cruised to victory. Senior forward Adam Ballinger and freshman forward Erazem Lorbek each chipped in 11 points in the victory.

But the Spartans stumbled in the semifinal, as Villanova downed MSU, 81-73. The difference was Wildcat guard Gary Buchanan and his 29 points.

Buchanan had arthroscopic knee surgery just 12 days prior to lighting up the Spartans.

Four Spartans scored in double digits, lead by Ballinger's 19. Hill added 13, while sophomore guard Kelvin Torbert and freshman center Paul Davis each added 10.

MSU scored the first two points of the game on a Ballinger layup. The Spartans led at 8-7, but Villanova controlled the rest of the half.

Another layup from Ballinger gave MSU a 37-36 lead to start the second half, but MSU would never lead again. The Wildcats finished the game 10-of-21 from three-point land.

In an attempt to salvage the tournament, the Spartans played Oklahoma State in the consolation game. But the Cowboys handed the Green and White a 64-61 loss.

The Spartans' largest scoring contribution, 21 points, came from an unlikely source, senior forward Al Anagonye. Anagonye finished 8 of 11 from the field and added eight rebounds. Hill added 16 points and Davis added 12.

MSU returns to action Wednesday in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge. The Spartans host Virginia at 9 p.m. on ESPN.

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