Arizona looked like it was going to run away from Michigan State after 10 minutes in the Acrisure Classic on Thanksgiving Day. The third-ranked Wildcats opened up with a 21-7 lead. Back-to-back triples from Keshad Johnson and Kylan Boswell capped a 9-0 run and put the Cats firmly in control.

The 21st-ranked Spartans completely took Arizona out of its game in the second half. The Wildcat offense sputtered. The defense was repeatedly screened out of the action. When Pelle Larsson fouled out with 4:37 to play, Michigan State’s AJ Hoggard stepped to the free throw line for an and-one conversion that gave MSU its first lead of the game. A Coen Carr steal and dish to Hoggard gave MSU a three-point lead with 3:58 to play.

Arizona would score the next eight points on its way to a 74-68 victory. For the second time in a ranked-on-ranked game, Arizona punctuated its win with a Caleb Love steal and a KJ Lewis dunk.

Arizona made plays late.

With less than 90 seconds on the clock, Jaden Bradley danced his way into a clutch jumper that put Arizona up 71-66.

With the clock ticking under 30 seconds to play, Keshad Johnson swatted a driving attempt from MSU’s Tyson Walker that would have cut Arizona’s lead to two. Johnson posted 13 points, 10 rebounds, one assist, two blocks, and four steals in 30 minutes.

Arizona was 13 points to the good when Johnson was on the floor. He looked every bit the player Arizona hoped for when it landed him out of the transfer portal over the offseason.


Meanwhile, Walker was held to just 2-of-8 shooting in the second half after gashing Arizona for 14 first-half points on 6-of-12 shooting.

Arizona held Michigan State without a made basket from the field over the final four minutes. The Spartans missed each of their final six shots.

Love finished with a team-high 17 points to lead Arizona. He added four boards and four assists, but he shot just 7-of-20 from the field and 2-of-9 from 3. Kylan Boswell added 12 points on 15 shots; he was hotter than hot in the first half and went ice-cold in the second half. Larsson and Oumar Ballo each supplied 10 points. Arizona shot 46% from the field in the game and blocked five MSU shots.

Walker’s 18 points led the Spartans. Hoggard added 15 points — all in the second half. Jaden Akins had 12 as the only other Spartan in double digits. MSU shot 41% from the field and 29% from 3. Despite doing well to take Ballo out of his comfort zone, Michigan State was beaten on the boards and bested 42-32 in the paint.

Arizona (6-0) hosts Colgate next on Saturday, Dec. 2.

Michigan State (3-3) will host Georgia Southern on Tuesday, Nov. 28.