Team USA jumped out to 26-17 lead after the first quarter under the hot hand of Anthony Jones who led with nine points in the frame. Teammate Greg Howard assisted on three of those shots.
The team continued to play well and expanded their lead to 16 points at halftime 50-34. Both Howard and Greg Gantt came on in the quarter to lead the US squad while Ramon Harris ripped down six boards in just six minutes of play. (Harris played limited minutes tonight recovering from some of the severe heat cramping from the night before and is expected to be fine for Friday’s game).
The USA was poised to put the game away early in the third, but China would have none of that, as they tore out of the halftime gates with a 9-0 run. The USA quickly pushed the lead back up to 15.
Once again the USA All-Stars team saw an opponent go streaking from the three point line in the second half. China’s Yuan Shuai went 4-of-5 from on 3′s in the second half (7-of-11 for the game). Shuai and teammate Tao Hanlin, who dominated inside (8-of-16 2FG, 11-of-13 FT and 13 rebounds), finished tied for game high honors with 27 points.
The USA spread the ball well as Greg Howard (17), Drew Barham (15), Anthony Jones (15), Kiwi Gardner (14) and Tom Granado (13) all scored in double figures. In the end the USA team held on and had several huge baskets down the stretch to take the first win in the series.
Barham put back a huge shot with less than a minute remaining to put the USA up by three, 94-91. A tip by Howard on defense led to a Gardner run-out layup to put the team up 96-94. Jones and Howard hit two late free throws to keep the US ahead 98-96. China had one last shot at a desperation three-pointer that fell short for the final margin.
NetScouts Basketball USA All-Stars Head Coach James Andrisevic, “We played a lot better as a team and moved the ball well and defended the ball pretty well in the first half. We’ll have to make some better adjustments coming out of half time and continue to build on leads….staying focused and not giving up big runs. And we struggled again from the FT line. In the end, we got better tonight. We some great plays by some guys down the stretch to make sure we came out on top. I’m proud of this team’s effort to gut it out in the end.”
Tomorrow is a travel day to Laizhou, Shandong. The next game against China will be on August 8th local time.
NetScouts Basketball USA All-Stars
Tom Granado (Concordia) 13 points (6-of-9 FG) 8 rebounds
Kevin Kotzur (Santa Cruz D-League) 8 points (3-of-5 FG) 3 offensive rebounds
Anthony Jones (Baylor) 15 points (5-of-7 FG, 1-of 2 3PT) 6 rebounds, 4 steals
Ramon Harris (Kentucky) 6 rebounds in 6 minutes
Greg Howard (ABA) 17 points (4-of-7 FG, 2-of-5 3PT) 5 assists, 2 steals
Drew Barham (Gonzaga) 15 points, 8 rebounds, 2 assists
Greg Gantt (Austin D-League) 9 points, 3 rebounds, 3 assists
Darren Moore (Cal-Irvine) 7 points, 3 rebounds, 3 assists
Kiwi Gardner (Santa Cruz D-League) 14 points, 3 rebounds, 3 assists
USA: 98 points…29-50, 58% FG, 9-26, 34.6% 3FG, 13-22, 59% FT, 15O, 26D, 41 TRB, 16 assists, 9 steals, 13 TO
China: 96 points….21-41, 51% FG, 10-32, 31% 3FG, 24-29, 83% FT, 16O, 26D 42 TRB, 16 assists, 11 steals, 11 TO
Thanks to Coach Ryan Johnson for his coverage of the tour from China.
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