Arizona Defeats Michigan State, 74-68, In inaugural Acrisure Classic

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After a half of basketball, the 9,112 people in Acrisure Arena began to come alive.

The nationally televised game between two top-25 teams felt like a successful start to what will become a college basketball Thanksgiving tradition here in the California desert by the time the final siren blew and Arizona had defeated Michigan State, 74-68.

Some of the biggest college basketball programs in the nation will participate in separate two-day tournaments at the Acrisure Classic next year, which will feature up to eight men’s teams and four women’s teams. The men’s programs at USC and San Diego State have already been revealed.

Following Fox’s traditional Thanksgiving Day game featuring the Detroit Lions, all eyes were on Arizona (6-0) and Michigan State on Thursday.

For the last five minutes, spectators in the arena, some in green and others in red, stood. Acrisure Arena opened in December of last year, and in those five minutes, the energy in the building surpassed that of any previous sporting event.

“It was a hell of a game for November,” Michigan State head coach Tom Izzo said. “The intensity of that game in the second half, everybody that bought tickets got their money’s worth.”

The Spartans had a dismal first half against Arizona, the third-ranked team in the nation, who led from the outset and by as much as 15 points in the first half. There was no cause for the thousands of people dressed in green to leap from their seats.

“The game was lost in the first 10 minutes,” said Izzo, who added that his team did not play well enough in the first half to beat a team as good as Arizona.

“That’s a hell of a team,” Izzo said. “They came out and punched us right in the mouth. Why didn’t we punch back?”

Arizona got off to a fast start in the game, hustling after stray balls and frequently finding backdoor cutters for easy baskets. Izzo claimed that Tommy Lloyd, the head coach of Arizona, had his team more ready than he had.