After an event full of blowouts, the Gold Medal game at the International Sports Invitational in San Diego, Calif., is set for what will hopefully be a close and well played game between the USA White and Blue Squads. Once again, O.J. Mayo led the charge for the Blue squad, and off the bench, the duo of Javaris Crittenton and Kyle Singler sparked the White squad.
The White squad received a short lived scare with Russia jumping out to a 28-25 first quarter lead and the frontline of Greg Oden, Darrell Arthur and Bill Walker getting into early foul trouble. In the second quarter, however, the White squad went to a smaller line up with Javaris Crittenton and Mike Conley teaming up with Paul Harris in the backcourt. A stifling press caused numerous turnovers and helped the White squad take a 56-43 lead into the locker room at halftime.
In the third quarter Kyle Singler went on a scoring outburst to compliment Crittenton's scoring as the White squad took a 19 point lead into the fourth quarter. The margin staid at 19 as the White squad won 105-86.
Crittenton finished with a game high 21 points on 7 of 13 shooting from the field and 7 of 11 shooting from the line in his 24 minutes of play. The Russian's had no answer for his powerful penetrations to the basket.
Singler hit 5 of 6 shots from the field, including 3 of 4 from three, and made 6 of his 8 free throws to finish with 19 points in only 16 minutes of play. Singler has been a steady all around performer for the White squad throughout the event. There is really no weakness to his game other than the fact that he must continue to develop strength.
Conley scored 9 points on 4 of 7 shooting from the field and dished out 3 assists with 0 turnovers in 18 minutes of play. A steady all around floor general, Conley development will hinge on how much physically stronger he gets over the course of his career.
A prospect who is in no need of more physical strength, Harris was once again the engine that propelled the White team. While they were struggling in the first quarter, it was only Harris' voice on the court encouraging and challenging his teammates to pick up their effort. Harris finished the night with a double-double of 12 points and a game high 14 rebounds that doubled the next highest rebounder. Harris also had 5 assists with 4 turnovers and 3 steals while playing a team high 32 minutes.
Scottie Reynolds, who was exposed defensively in the first quarter by either mismatches in height or quickness, still was able to led the White squads with 4 steals in his 29 minutes of play. Although limited in height and quickness, Reynolds does have good strength and very good anticipation and positioning instincts. He picked up his steals in the White squad's chaotic press. He also scored 8 points.
Oden finished with 12 points on 5 of 10 shooting, grabbed 3 rebounds and had 1 block in 18 minutes of play.
Arthur scored 10 points on 5 of 10 shooting, grabbed 5 rebounds and had 2 blocks in 24 minutes of play.
Walker for once was not a dominating force, only playing 16 minutes, but he did have his few highlight reel moments. He finished with 8 points on 2 of 5 shooting and 4 of 4 shooting from the free throw line after struggling there last night.
Isaiah Dahlman did not score in his 14 minutes. He did have 3 rebounds and 1 assist. Of all the USA players in this event, Dahlman is the most in need of getting stronger and gaining weight. His frame looks no different than it looked at this time last year.
Bryce Webster scored 6 points on 1 of 1 shooting and 4 of 4 shooting from the line.
In the match up between the two USA teams, the two headed monster of O.J. Mayo and Wayne Ellington reared its head for a combined total of 47 points, 19 rebounds, 9 assists and 10 steals in the Blue squads 96-74 dismantling of the Red squad.
The Red squad did jump out to a 10-0 lead as they caught the Blue team off guard with a full court press. But the press played into the hands of Mayo and Ellington once they adjusted and the Blue squad turned the tables with a press of their own to outscore the Red team 74-39 by the end of the third quarter. The painfully sloppy and one sided game ended with the Blue team winning 96-74, while also turning the ball over 30 times to the Red team's 26 turnovers.
Mayo, whose game is on another level than any other player at this event, had a game high 29 points on 11 of 19 shooting, 4 of 9 from three and 3 of 4 from the line. He also had a game high 11 rebounds, tied Tory Jackson for a game high 6 assists, had a game high 8 steals and to cap it all off, had another uncharacteristic high number of turnovers with a game high 12 turnovers.
Ellington, who played a game high 36 minutes as did Mayo, scored 18 points on 8 of 13 shooting, 1 of 3 from behind the arc and 1 of 2 from the line. He also had 8 rebounds, 3 assists with 3 turnovers and 2 steals.
Ellington also played superb defense on Daequan Cook, who once again had a disappointing shooting night going 6 of 20 from the field with 0 for 5 from three for a total of 13 points, which was the top point total for the Red squad.
The other top gun for the Red squad Gerald Henderson had a tough night with 3 of 13 shooting, 0 of 3 from three and 5 of 5 from the line for 11 points. He also had 5 rebounds and 4 assists along with 5 turnovers.
Jeremiah Rivers had another tough night handling the basketball for the Red squad, turning it over 6 times with only 3 assists. Rivers has simply tried to play to fast at during this event. He has played tough defense, however, accounting for a good number of Mayo's turnovers.
Two bright spots for the East were the performances of Stanley Robinson and Brook Lopez. Although not dazzling, both had solid games.
An active but slender Robinson scored 9 points on 4 of 6 shooting, 1 of 3 from three and 0 for 2 from the line and grabbed a team high 8 rebounds.
Lopez scored 11 points on 4 of 7 shooting and 3 of 5 shooting from the line. He also had 7 rebounds, 3 steals and 1 block.
Leading the Blue in blocks was Lopez's twin brother Robin Lopez. He finished with a game high 6 blocks and is the event's shot block leader. Not the offensive player that Brook is, Robin is the more athletic defender of the two.
Also for the Blue squad, Corey Stokes and Dwayne Collins made some noise after being very quiet during the event. Stokes scored12 points, including 3 of 4 from behind the arc, and Collins scored 13 points and grabbed 8 boards. Collins could have had more points but only shot 1 of 6 from the line.
Michael Washington also tallied 9 points and 5 rebounds.
Go to www.usabasketball.com for complete box scores.