Jud Heathcote helps to inspire Michigan State past Gonzaga
Zags suffer rare home defeat
SPOKANE — Former Michigan State coach Jud Heathcote was on hand to watch the Spartans handle a hostile crowd and send Gonzaga to only its seventh defeat in its campus gym since 2004.
Draymond Green scored a career-high 34 points to lead Michigan State over the No. 23 Bulldogs 74-67 on Saturday night.
"I love Spokane," said the versatile Green, who scored from all over the floor against a variety of defenders. "We've had tremendous success here. I guess Jud (Heathcote) brings the luck."
Heathcote was one of 6,000 fans in attendance. He won a national title with the Magic Johnson-led Spartans in 1979. Heathcote retired to Spokane and is a Gonzaga men's basketball season-ticket holder.
Adreian Payne had nine points for Michigan State (8-2), and Derrick Nix and Keith Appling added eight apiece.
David Stockton had a career best with 19 points to lead Gonzaga (5-2). Robert Sacre had 16 points and freshman Gary Bell Jr. added 13. This was Gonzaga's second consecutive defeat against a Big Ten opponent. The Bulldogs lost to No. 24 Illinois 82-75 last Saturday.
"Draymond Green was the man tonight. I can't speak enough about him," Michigan State coach Tom Izzo said. "This summer, he spent an incredible amount of time on his shot."
Green was 11 of 13 from the field, including 4 of 5 from behind the arc, and made 8 of 9 from the free-throw line.
"I played pretty good when I played here in the tournament but not like tonight," Green said.
Michigan State last played in Spokane during the 2010 NCAA tournament, when they defeated New Mexico State 85-83 at the Spokane Arena.
Heathcote received a standing ovation from the sellout crowd before the game and Gonzaga coach Mark Few and Izzo presented him with an autographed basketball.
"That (ovation) was awesome," Izzo said. "That brought tears to my eyes. He's been such a good guy and he's so important to me."
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