The flight deck of the USS Carl Vinson offered a unique and impressive college basketball environment for the first half of the Carrier Classic with the North Carolina Tar Heels finishing strong to take a 36-25 lead at the break over the Michigan State Spartans.
The game started at dusk in San Diego after about 45 minutes of pre-game pomp and circumstance. Once play finally began, the play was a little sloppy as both teams took some time to find their shooting range in the open-air environment.
The Spartans rallied from an early 6-0 deficit with their trademark hustle and muscle, utilizing the bulk of Draymond Green and Derrick Nix to boost a run that put MSU up 19-14 with eight minutes left in the half. Nix finished with four points and five rebounds while Green added four points of his own and seven rebounds. Freshman Branden Dawson also helped inside with four points and six rebounds.
The Tar Heels ended the half on a 22-6 run to seize control, though behind John Henson (8 points) and Harrison Barnes (6 points).
As darkness fell on the game, the playing court appeared to pick up some moisture with players on both teams struggling with the footing at times.