Travis Trice scored a career-high 25 points, and No. 18 Michigan State struggled against pesky Navy before squeezing out a 64-59 victory Friday night in the Veterans Classic.
The Spartans got all they could handle from the disciplined Midshipmen.
Michigan State led 44-43 with 11 minutes left and 53-50 with 7 minutes remaining before Navy went cold. A 3-pointer by Denzel Valentine, coupled with a layup by Braden Dawson with 5:29 to go, upped the margin to eight points. After the Midshipmen got to 60-57, Trice scored on a drive with 1:46 left.
Fouled with 17.3 seconds left and Michigan State up 62-59, Trice — a senior guard — made one of two shots. Then, after a Navy misfire, Trice added two more free throws.
That was just enough to enable the Spartans to improve to 35-3 in their last 38 openers, 17-3 under coach Tom Izzo.