USA Edged Out 103-101 In 18th Annual Nike Hoop Summit
Trailing by as many as 14 points in the first half, the USA Junior National Select Team fought its way back to a three-point lead in the fourth quarter but could not contain the World Select Team’s Jamal Murray (Orangeville Prep/Canada), who led the international squad to a 103-101 win with 30 points in the 2015 Nike Hoop Summit on Saturday afternoon at the Moda Center in Portland, Oregon.
“First of all, (it was) a great game,” said USA head coach Eric Flannery (St. Edward H.S., Ohio). “Whenever a game, no matter what level, comes down to the last possession, it shows both teams competing and how much they wanted to win.
“To have the ball in our hands with a chance to tie or win, it says a lot about their effort and their attitude throughout the course of the game. So, I’m just very proud of our guys and our team. I thought both teams showed why they’re the best players in the world, because they executed throughout the course of the game tonight, and both teams hit some big time shots whether around the basket or knocking down threes. I was very impressed with the way both teams played.”
The USA trailed 79-77 to start the fourth quarter, but a pull-up jumper from Luke Kennard (Franklin H.S./Franklin, Ohio), a 3-pointer from Allonzo Trier (Findlay Prep/Seattle, Wash.) and a score from Brandon Ingram (Kinston H.S./Kinston, N.C.) gave the USA an 84-81 advantage at 7:30.
That was the last time the USA would lead in the game as the World Team answered with a 7-0 run to retake an 88-84 lead at 5:50. Though the USA tied the game at 98-all when Kennard stole the ball and made two free throws at 2:22, the USA shot just 1-of-4 from free throw line and 1-of-5 from the field in the final 1:47.
The USA forced a turnover and then pulled to within one point, 102-101, when Kennard slammed home a fast-break bucket with 13.9 seconds left in the game. Forced to foul, the World Team’s Skal Labissiere (Reach Your Dream Prep Academy, Tenn./Haiti) made one of two free throws with 12.0 on the clock. Kennard’s shot was blocked and went out of bounds with 2.6 seconds left. Inbounding the ball to Trier in the corner, his game winning 3-point attempt at the buzzer was off the mark, and the World Team had the victory.
Kennard led the USA with 22 points; Ingram had 12 points; Jalen Brunson (Adlai E. Stevenson H.S./Lincolnshire, Ill.) added 12 points and seven assists; Trier scored 11; Malik Newman (Callaway H.S./Jackson, Miss.) tallied 10 points; and Isaiah Briscoe (Roselle Catholic H.S./Union, N.J.) dished out nine assists to go with nine points.
“The effort was pretty tremendous for both teams, credit to the World team,” Kennard said. “They have some great guys. It was a battle to the end. We were down 14; we never really got discouraged. We were still all in. We fell at the end, but we gave some good effort today.”
As a team, the internationals set World Team game records for blocked shots (12) and 3-point makes (9), and tied the mark for field goals made (38). Individually, Ben Simmons (Montverde Academy, Fla./Australia), who finished with 13 points, set a World Team record for assists (9); Murray set records for field goal attempts (23) and 3-point attempts (7), and he tied the record for 3-point makes (3). Additionally, Labissiere scored 21 points and swatted six USA shots, and Thon Maker (Orangeville Prep, Canada/Australia) grabbed a game-high 10 rebounds.
“It was exciting,” said World Team head coach Roy Rana (Canada) who is now 3-2 all-time in the Nike Hoop Summit as the World team head coach. “Obviously it was very satisfying to win, always. It’s never easy to lose, and I’m just happy we were able to pull out the win tonight.”
With the USA shooting just 0-for-6 from the field in the first five minutes and committing four turnovers, the World Team jumped to a 12-0 lead. A score from Kennard ended the streak, which was followed by four-straight points apiece from Ingram and then Stephen Zimmerman (Bishop Gorman H.S./Las Vegas, Nev.). The international squad, however, sank five 3-pointers in the first 10 minutes to help it build a 25-18 lead at the first break.
With seven-straight points to open the second period, the World Team took its largest lead of the game, 32-18, at 8:16 off of a score from Murray, who had 16 first-half points. From there, though, the USA began to chip away at the deficit. Helped along by eight points, including two 3s, from Newman, the USA closed by outscoring the World Team 26-16 to head to the halftime locker trailing by just three points, 47-44.
At the midway point, the World Team was 6-of-15 from 3-point (.400) and had secured a 20-14 advantage on the boards, with nine of those coming on the offensive glass.
The third quarter saw four lead changes and six tied scores as the teams battled back and forth. The USA’s first lead of the game came at 7:52 when Ingram made a basket at 7:52. More than six minutes later, the game was knotted at 74-74 at 1:02. A 3-pointer from Kennard put the USA up 77-74, but the World Team scored and then made a 3 with just 2.9 seconds to lead 79-77 at the final break.
After scoring just four points in the third period, Murray heated back up and tallied 10 points in the fourth quarter. That and nine points from Labissiere helped the World Team overcome 11 points from Kennard and six from Trier in the fourth quarter and secure the 103-101 win.
Overall, the World Team shot 42.9 percent from deep (9-21 3pt FGs) and outrebounded the USA 40-29, which helped it score 26 second-chance points, compared to the USA’s 13 second-chance points.
“First of all, we lost to a very good world team,” Brunson said. “They were really skilled, really long, but I couldn’t be more proud of our effort. On the defensive end, guys not giving up. I’m just really honored to have this opportunity.”
L.J. Goolsby (K.C. Run GMC, Kansas) served as the USA’s assistant coach.
The USA now holds a 12-6 overall series in the Nike Hoop Summit, which first was played in 1995.