Tianjin, China – The NetScouts Basketball USA All-Stars played their best game of the tour in beating the Tianjin Steel of the CBA 89-83 before 1,844 partisan fans. The Americans finished their play in Tianjin with a 2-1 record.
Keion Bell continued his excellent play leading the USA with 22 points on 7-of-9 shooting from the field and making all eight of his foul shots. Bell also grabbed six rebounds . He continually beat his defenders off the dribble or on cuts and scored at the hoop or generated fouls. Point guard Nate Rohnert made eight late free throws to ice the game. Rohnert finished up with 21 points, nine rebounds and five assists. Jamal Wilson (12), Dominic Cheek (11) and Markieth Cummings (10) also scored in double-figures. Robert Thurman battled on the boards and finished with 17 rebounds and three blocked shots to go along with nine points.
The USA showed increased effort throughout the contest. That was most evident on the glass where the USA out-rebounded their opponent for the first time and did so decisively to a 52-29 advantage. The advantage off the offensive glass was 16-6.
The Americans had trouble getting shots to drop in the first half. They missed all seven of their three-point attempts by halftime, missed open jumpers and had several potential three-point plays roll out. The USA led 31-27 at the half, despite shooting 32 percent from the field, because of their defense and rebounding (+10 advantage). Shots started to fall for the USA in the third quarter as they raced out to a 16-point lead (54-38). At that point the calls started to go against the Americans at an increasing rate. China started to come back and closed the USA lead to 56-49 after three quarters.
That continued into the fourth quarter as Thurman, Wilson, Sam Coleman and Bell were each charged with their fourth foul. China took advantage and pulled out to a three-point lead (67-64) with five minutes remaining. The USA came back and took a four-point lead on a three-point play by Rohnert and a three-pointer by Cummings. They then pulled out to an eight-point lead in the final minute when China hit three three-pointers, several of them long, contested shots, to narrow the lead to two. Rohnert kept on making his free throws though and the USA held on for the win.
USA Head Coach Rod Jensen: “This was by far our best played game. Our effort on defense and on the boards was excellent and we have rapidly improved as a team. This was a great win in a tough environment under adverse conditions. ”
The USA will have a day off before traveling to the second city of Jiangyin in Jiangsu Provence, outside of Shanghai, on Monday.
NetScouts Basketball USA All-Stars
Nate Rohnert (Denver) 21 points, 9 rebounds, 5 assists, 1 steal
Jay-R Strowbridge (Oregon) 4 points, 4 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 steals, 1 block
Keion Bell (Pepperdine/Missouri)22 points, 6 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 steal
Jamal Wilson (Rhode Island) 12 points, 4 rebounds, 1 assist, 2 steals
Markeith Cummings (Kennesaw State) 10 points, 4 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 steals
Dominic Cheek (Villanova) 11 points, 5 rebounds, 3 assists, 3 steals, 1 block
Jeff Powers (California) 0 points, 1 rebound
Josh Clyburn (Queens) 0 points, 0 rebounds
Sam Coleman (Coppin State) 0 points, 5 rebounds, 1 assist
Robert Thurman (California) 9 points, 17 rebounds, 2 assists, 3 blocks
In the first game of the night Lithuania got their first win of the event with a 71-64 upset over the China Junior National Team. 6’3 shooting guard Dovis Bickauskis got hot and connected on 5-of-9 three-pointers and led the winners with 17 points. 6’10 center Yuchen Zou had an outstanding game for the Chinese with 32 points on 12-of-15 shooting, seven rebounds and three steals.
Prior to the final day of the Tianjin competition the team records are: USA (2-1), Tianjin (2-1), Ukraine (1-1), Lithuania (1-2) and China (1-2). This event concludes tonight with games between Tianjin vs. China and Lithuania vs. Ukraine.
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