Fueled by seven points from Jrue Holiday (Campbell Hall H.S./ North Hollywood, Calif.), the USA posted an 11-0 run over the first four minutes ofÂ the third quarter to open a comfortable 54-42 lead and then rolled on to a 98-78 victory over the World Select Team in the 11th Nike Hoop Summit held Saturday at the Rose Garden in Portland, Ore.
The USA’s 20-point margin of victory tied the game’s record for victory margin.Â The 20 point differential has also been equaled on two other occasions, 100-80 in 2007 and 99-79 in the 2004 game.The win upped the USA’s record to 9-2 in the Nike Hoop Summit and was the USA’s seventh straight victory.
In a balanced scoring attack that saw six of the 10 U.S. players score in double digits, forward DeMar DeRozan (Compton H.S. / Compton, Calif.), who is headed to USC next fall, finished with a game high 17 points, while forward Drew Gordon (Archbishop Mitty H.S. / San Jose, Calif.), one of four USA players who will play at UCLA in 2008-09, accounted for 15 points and seven rebounds, and Scotty Hopson (University Heights / Hopkinsville, Ky.) was credited with 15 points and five rebounds.
“In the second half, we really picked up the pressure out front”, said USA head coach Douglas Mitchell (North Central H.S. / Indianapolis, Ind.). Malcolm (Lee), Tyreke (Evans), Jrue (Holiday) and Jerime (Anderson) all did a great job putting pressure out front and making it tough for them to set up their offense and I thought that was the difference in the game – forcing them into bad shots or turnovers that resulted in points for us.
Behind scoring from five different USA players, including five points from Gordon, the U.S. quickly and efficiently dashed out to a 12-6 lead.Â The World squad ripped off nine straight points to take the lead 15-12 with 2:48 left in the first quarter, but the USA got four points from future University of Tennessee VolunteerÂ Hopson and finished the stanza riding a 9-2 run to grab a 21-17 lead after one quarter of play.
The Americans opened a 10 point advantage (29-19) after going on an 8-0 run early in the second quarter.Â The World Team battled back once again and after outscoring the U.S. 19-12 over the last eight minutes, the gap stood at only three points, 41-38, at halftime.
Following the 11-0 third quarter run that pushed the USA advantage to 54-42, World guard Torgrim Sommerfeldt drained a three to leave the score 56-47 with 5:13 to play.That was as close as the World Team could get as the USA added a 12-2 run to up its lead to 68-49, and from there the closest the World Team could pull was 15 points.
I gotta thank the guards. Our big men weren’t quite as big as the other team. We battled hard in the post but the guards definitely stepped it up on offense and on defense to stop their pressure and set up our offense, remarked Gordon.Although the World Team featured a significant size advantage with five players measuring 6’10 or bigger, including 7’4 Boban Marjanovic (Serbia) and 7’1 Alexis Ajinca (France), the USA won the battle of the boards, collecting 44 rebounds to the World’s 42.Â Twenty-three of the USA’s rebounds came on the offensive end.
“The World Team was big so it was hard for us to go to the hole and we had to adjust. We had to adjust and get a couple of steals and just run them”, DeRozan said.The Americans also relied on their guards to disrupt the World Team, which helped lead to 25 World turnovers and 18 USA steals.Â The U.S. committed just 15 turnovers.
All 10 USA Team members scored, and in addition to DeRozan and Gordon, Hopson was credited with 15 points, Holiday added 13 points and five assists, Tyreke Evans (American Christian / Aston, Pa.) compiled 11 points and an American high eight rebounds and Wake Forest University bound Al-Farouq Aminu (Norcross H.S. / Norcross, Ga.) finished with 10 points and five rebounds.
“I thought the World team came out and tried to set the tempo early with their length. They did a nice job early on and we had trouble with taking it to the basket”, USA mentor Mitchell offered. We wanted to see how fast they could run. We wanted to get down there before they set up and we didn’t do a very good job of it off of makes. I don’t think we got it out and pushed it until we defended and we were able to get some points off turnovers.Â And, that was the difference.
France’s Ajinca led the World club with 13 points and a game best nine rebounds. Samardo Samuels (St. Benedict’s Prep, N.J. / Jamaica), who is slated to play at Louisville nest year, and Devoe Joseph (Pickering H.S., Ontario / Canada), who has signed to play at the University of Minnesota, tossed in 10 points each.
The Nike Hoop Summit is an annual game which sees America’s top senior high school players take on a World Select Team comprised of the world’s top players 19-years-old or younger.Â It has now been staged on 11 previous occasions and has given an extraordinary number of talented young players the chance to showcase their abilities.