Armed Forces Classic-Carrier edition 2022
Aviation Boatswain’s Mate (Equipment) 3rd Class Charitee Swift-Day sings the national anthem during the Armed Forces Classic, held on the flight deck of the USS Abraham Lincoln at Naval Air Station North island in Coronado Friday. Photo credit: U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Joel Mundo

Gonzaga mounted a comeback to beat Michigan State 64-63 Friday on the flight deck of the USS Abraham Lincoln at Naval Air Station North Island.

At the 2022 Armed Forces Classic, the first such game in three years due to the pandemic, Zag Drew Timme, with 22 points and 13 rebounds, helped No. 2 Gonzaga erase a 12-point deficit. His shot with 2:24 left gave Gonzaga a 63-61 lead.

Gonzaga added just one more point, on a Timme free throw, but when Julian Strawther traveled with 31 seconds left, Michigan State got the ball back. Jaden Akins, however, missed a three-pointer at the buzzer, preserving the Gonzaga victory.

The ESPN Armed Forces Classic is an annual series of college basketball games held near Veterans Day on military bases as a tribute to U.S. service members.

The Spartans played in the 2011 Carrier Classic aboard the USS Carl Vinson in Coronado, losing to North Carolina, as well as the inaugural Armed Forces Classic one year later, when they fell to Connecticut at Ramstein Air Force Base in Germany.

Gonzaga took part in the Armed Forces Classic in 2015 in Japan, though the game was called midway through due to dangerous court conditions from the weather.

“It is truly an honor that, on Veterans Day in the centennial year of the U.S. Navy aircraft carrier, we will host the Armed Forces Classic basketball game on the flight deck of one of our most renowned aircraft carriers, USS Abraham Lincoln,” Vice Adm. Kenneth Whitesell, Commander, Naval Air Forces, said in July when the game was announced.

Gonzaga coach Mark Few Gonzaga said at the time that his team was “extremely honored” to take part in this year’s game. “I’m sure this will be a great memory for all of us,” he added.


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Ellen Bullock