For the second consecutive time, the NetScouts Basketball Men’s USA All-Star team would have to rely on their defense and get one final stop to overcome the powerful Chinese team. And with one swipe of his hand, Marquis Jones stripped China’s point guard with 4.8 seconds left to help seal a 72-70 victory. It was the ninth consecutive win for the US team, and completed a sweep of all opponents on the 2012 China tour to finish 9-0.
After playing two very tense games versus China already on this trip, combined with China’s upset loss to Lithuania the night before and the onslaught of injury and fatigue, it seemed finishing undefeated was going to be a longshot. Despite shooting 60% from the field in the first half, the USA found itself down by as much as 11 in the second quarter, their largest deficit of the trip. China pounded the ball inside early, and foul trouble on the front line became an issue for the Americans.
But the USA All-Stars rallied behind strong bench play to close the gap at the half to eight points. The third quarter started, and in a pivotal play that ignited the Americans, Taj McCollough drove the length of the floor, rose up over 7’3″ Sun Tze, and flushed one home over the big center. Clearly inspired, the Americans put together a series of stops and got key third quarter buckets from Anthony Gurley, Orion Outerbridge and Adam Waddell to tie the game going into the final stanza.
Then it was Lance Jeter time. Seemingly the only person on the floor who wasn’t fatigued, Jeter made a barrage of baskets in transition, willing the USA team to a narrow lead late. With just over a minute to go, and the US hanging on to a 1 point lead, Lamonte Ulmer dove on a loose ball in the paint, found Jeter at the top of the key, and with the shot clock winding down Jeter drained a 25 footer to put the USA up 4. China answered with a tough 3 of their own off a side out-of-bounds play to cut it to one, then Brian Addison made 1-of-2 free throws before Jones came up with the huge stop. It was the second game in a row versus China that the USA team had to get a stop with less than 10 seconds on the clock to seal a victory.
“I was really proud of the effort all of our guys put forth on the last night,” said USA Coach John Peterson. “These guys are such great competitors and professionals that they found a way to overcome the fatigue and hang on for another great win. It was a great trip and our success as a group was directly correlated to the individual talents of each of them.”
Marquis Jones: 5 points, 1 rebound, 3 assists, 3 steals
Anthony Gurley: 5 points, 1 rebound, 1 assist
Lance Jeter: 19 points, 2 rebounds, 5 assists, 3 steals
LaMarcus Reed: DNP
Taj McCullough: 7 points, 3 rebounds, 2 assists
Lamonte Ulmer: 18 points, 3 rebounds, 1 assists
Tyler Cain: 8 points, 8 rebounds, 0 assists
Adam Waddell: 4 points, 3 rebounds, 0 assists
Brian Addison: 4 points, 2 rebounds,
Orion Outerbridge: 6 points, 5 rebounds