Exciting match-ups highlight Sunday Big Time action
Sunday's morning action at the Big Time Tournament in Las Vegas (Nev.) continued the elimination rounds with each time packing their bags with a loss and the winner of the early contests facing a must win game in the nightcap in order to advance to the quarter-finals on Monday.
Some of the most anticipated games of the tournament took place Sunday including the D1 Greyhounds (O.J. Mayo) facing Rocktown (Brandon Rush) and Spiece Indy Heat (Greg Oden) versus the New York Panthers (Derrick Caracter).
Battle of the Bigs takes place Sunday night
The 5 p.m. match-up between the Spiece Indy Heat and New York Panthers had the stands filled to near capacity at Foothill High School in anticipation of seeing two of the top 2006 big men, Greg Oden and Derrick Caracter square off against one another.
With Josh McRoberts on the bench with a sprained ankle the 1st half didn't prove to be much of a head-to-head battle with Oden scoring seven points and helping Spiece to a 37-22 halftime lead. Caracter only managed one free throw and was plagued by early foul trouble.
The 2nd half saw a rejuvenated Caracter take the battle straight to Oden showing a variety of spin moves in the point and finding ways to score over or around the 7-footer. In all he totaled 15 points and pulled down six rebounds. Oden certainly had his moments including a couple of nice reverse lay-ups off ball fakes and finished with 13 points and seven rebounds.
Spiece guards Daequan Cook and Mike Conley had impressive performances with Cook showing a long range and mid-range jumper in addition to his nice athleticism and led both teams in scoring with 18. Conley added 12 points and a handful of assists in their 74-55 win.
2006 small forward Rob Thomas had a couple of highlight dunks in the early moments of the game. Thomas, 6-foot-5, is a long, bouncy athlete who runs the floor well and finishes. He scored 14 points in the losing effort.
Rush and Mayo meet head-to-head
When the brackets were announced and people attending the Big Time Tournament saw the 3:40 pairing of the D1 Greyhounds and Rocktown an exciting buzz could be heard and plans were made to be at Basic High School to witness 2005 small forward Brandon Rush and 2007 point guard O.J. Mayo in a battle of possible high school to the NBA players.
Mayo, 6-foot-5, came out aggressive, at times too aggressive, taking 15 1st half shots while scoring 18 points and leading D1 to a 45-35 lead at the midway point. He found the mark on seven of his shot attempts and was hitting from outside the arc and creating off the dribble. Meanwhile Rush struggled to get an open look thanks largely in part to Mayo's impressive defensive effort but he did break away for a nice dunk in traffic and scored 10 points.
The 2nd half saw much of the same, although Rush was more successful when he decided penetrated. The game belonged to Mayo and the Greyhounds and Rocktown never really made it a close contest. On the day Mayo finished with 31 points, eight rebounds and seven assists with Rush scoring 22 points and pulling down six rebounds. The Greyhounds advanced with a 83-70 win.
D1 small forward Bill Walker was a dominating force in the opening minutes when he snagged five rebounds in the first three minutes of the game. He finished with 10 boards and 18 points despite deferring to his teammates for much of the 2nd half.
Clemson commitment K.C. Rivers continued his solid play with a 16 points effort. The 6-foot-4 shooting guard is using his strong frame and willingness to attack the basket to get near the rim and score.
The Big Time Tournament hasn't been nearly as kind to fellow Clemson commitment Julius Powell who has struggled throughout the weekend and hasn't had much of an impact.
Small forward Leo Criswell was held scoreless against the Greyhounds.
Mustangs picking up steam, advance to play Monday with 2 wins
A Texas grudge match showed in Las Vegas when the Dallas Mustangs and Texas Blue Chips met at 10:20 a.m. at Coronado High School.
The Mustangs were missing one of their top players with Gary Flowers suspended one game for an altercation during a Saturday night blowout victory. But the cupboard wasn't bare for the Dallas with guards Byron Eaton, Austin Jackson and Booker Woodfox prepared to pick up the offense.
The Texas trio totaled 44 points with Eaton scoring 19 on a variety of drives to the basket, Jackson also used his speed and quickness to get to the rim while totaling 12 points and the unorthodox but always solid Woodfox shooting from downtown adding 13.
The Blue Chips countered with one of the top prospects in the 2006 class, Damion James, playing like a man possessed. James a 6-foot-9 combo forward used a wide offensive arsenal that includes strong post moves, a good face-up jumper that extends outside the arc and filling the lanes in transition to score 29 points while pulling double digit rebounds.
Senior Harvey Hale scored 14 points but it wasn't enough as the Mustangs won a hard fought 76-69 win.
With Gary Flowers back in the line-up for the nightcap against the SoCal all-stars, the Mustangs jumped out to an early, commanding lead and despite a late comeback cruised to a 73-65 victory. SoCal guards Bryan Harvey and Marcus Johnson got hot late in the game and closed the gap to within three points in the final minutes but it wasn't enough. Johnson led the scoring with 21 points, 19 in the 2nd half and Harvey added 19 including five 3-pointers.
Woodfox led the Mustangs charged with 25 points with Eaton scoring 15 and Jackson adding 10.
2007 UCLA commitment Taylor King has a rough night finished with only one basket. The 6-foot-6 shooting guard had trouble getting an open look against the athletic Texans.
Quick, fast and in a hurry
Mississippi State sent three coaches to watch Monta Ellis in Magnolia's early morning loss to Team Breakdown. Ellis struggled with his jumper and finished with 16 points.
N.C. State commitment Courtney Fells struggled as well with only seven points. The 6-foot-5 shooting guard looked tired and his jumper looked flat.
Magnolia's one bright spot was combo forward Bernard Rimmer who is a long, lean, bouncy athlete who runs the floor well and works hard on the glass. His tournament play this week has been solid and he should get some mid-major or higher looks.
Breakdown 2007 point guard Edwin Rios was impressive with 23 points scored on strong drives to the baskets and a nice jump shot. The 2007 prospect did a good job of running the offense and finding open looks for his teammates. Miami has offered with UConn, Florida, Louisville, Kansas and Kentucky making up his early list of favorites.
North Carolina pledge Bobby Frasor knocked down 3 treys on his way to a 19 point effort in the Illinois Wolves morning win over Emerald City.
Wolves guard Bryan Mullins is a smart, heady lead guard who knows how to run an offense and limit his mistakes. He scored 15 points and handle out nine assists.
Eddie Sutton, Scott Drew and assistants from Illinois, Texas, Cincinnati and Oklahoma were standing along the wall of Byron Eaton and Austin Jackson's win this morning.
Team Breakdown combo forward Adrian Thomas currently lists Florida, Pittsburgh, Nebraska, Penn State as favorites who have offered with Georgia Tech and Florida State rounding out his list.
Monday's morning match-ups for the quarterfinals
9a.m.- Spiece Indy Heat (IN) vs. New Heights NYC (NY) 10:20a.m.- Dallas Mustangs 17s Blue vs. Blessed IJN (NH) 11:40a.m.-Arizona Magic Blue vs. Team Breakdown (FL) 1p.m.-Oakland Slam N Jam (CA) vs. Illinois Wolves (IL)
Leading individual game scorers through Sunday
47 Dwain Williams, CAL Hi Rising Stars (vs. Game Time) 45 Monta Ellis, Magnolia Stars (vs. FTW Wolfpack) 44 Chris Brickley, Granite State Raiders (vs.New York Panthers) 43 O.J. Mayo, D1 Greyhounds (vs. Los Angeles Stars) 41 Dwain Williams, CAL Hi Rising Stars (vs. El Toro Chargers) 39 Jerryd Bayless, Arizona Magic White (vs. D1 Greyhounds) 38 Chris Jackson, D. Wright KB3 (vs. Slam N Jam) Dior Lowhorn, Belmont Shore (vs. Team Fort Worth) 37 Jimmer Fredette, Northeast Sharks II (vs.MBA Milwaukee Bball Assoc.) Amir Johnson, Los Angeles Stars (vs. D1 Greyhounds) Brett Wessels, Illinois Gunners (vs. CAL Hi Rising Stars) 36 Scott Stockwell, Eastern WA Elite Red (vs. Slam N Jam) Roburt Sallie, Play Hard Play Smart (vs.Donyell Marshall Found I) 35 Derrick Goodwin, El Paso Suns (vs. Colorado Chaos 16s White) Etwain Moore, E.C. Cardinals (vs. Schecentady Patriots) Edwin Ross, Team Breakdown (vs. Nebraska High 5 2006) 34 Monta Ellis, Magnolia Stars (vs. Dakota Schoolers) K.C. Rivers, Rocktown (vs. Chi-Town Mix 17's) Lance Thomas, New Heights NYC (vs. Belmont Shore Blain Templeton, Dana Hills (vs. ABC Hoops II) Jordan Adams, Houston Elite (vs. Branch West Team Reebok) Brian Mitchell, Rincon Timberwolves (vs. Basic Wolves) Danny Williams, H Squad (vs. Arkansas Hawks 17's)