BEAVERTON, ORE.- The Nike Global Challenge, which includes three USA teams and five international teams, got under way Friday with an impressive showing by Demarcus Cousins and a dramatic comeback win by Serbia over a USA team.
USA One 81, Senegal 68
Demarcus Cousins was the story of this game, carrying his USA team with his scoring and energy through the first half and the beginning of the third quarter. Halfway into the third quarter Tommy Mason-Griffin found his stride knocking down a couple pull up jumpers. Then Roger Franklin and Royce White got into the act, scoring some key buckets in the second half.
Senegal, who was paced by Byago Diouf's 22 points and Aziz Ndiaye's 18 rebounds, gained the lead only once in the game with a 27-26 advantage late in the second quarter. The USA led 33-29 at the half and then 51-48 at the end of the third quarter before opening the game up in the fourth quarter.
Cousins had game highs in points with 23 and steals with five. Harrison Barnes led the USA with eight rebounds while Mason-Griffin had a game high four assists.
Demarcus Cousins 23 points on 9-12 shooting, 3-4 from three, 2-4 from the line, 5 rebounds, 2 blocks, 5 steals, 1 assist, 4 turnovers in 26 minutes
Cousins displayed his full arsenal of scoring moves from three-pointers off the dribble to bruising power moves around the basket. He has clearly established himself as the most offensively gifted big man in the class.
Tommy Mason-Griffin 13 points on 3-5 shooting, 1-2 from three, 6-6 from the line, 2 rebounds, 1 steal, 4 assists, 4 turnovers in 27 minutes
Mason-Griffin struggled in the first half getting on the same page with his teammates as the point guard, but the insertion of Phil Pressey in the line-up with him freed him up to more aggressively look for his shot.
Roger Franklin 16 points on 7-10 shooting, 1-1 from three, 1-1 from the line, 2 rebounds, 1 block, 3 steals, 2 turnovers in 24 minutes
Always the energetic presence, Franklin came up big offensively in the second half.
Royce White 9 points on 3-5 shooting, 2-2 from three, 1-4 from the line, 2 rebounds, 2 blocks, 1 assist, 2 turnovers in 24 minutes
White established his presence immediately upon coming into the game with his physical play and strong drives to the basket. In the fourth quarter, his two three pointers were instrumental in breaking open the game. White is in the process of developing into a legitimate hybrid forward.
Assane Sene (Senegal) 5 points on 2-4 shooting, 1-2 from the line, 5 rebounds, 2 blocks, 1 steal, 1 assist in 14 minutes
Serbia 74, USA Three 73
In a classic late game let down, the USA squandered a 73-64 lead with three minutes left as the Euroleague junior tournament champions FMP-Serbia went on a 10-0 run to end the game. On the final possession DeShaun Thomas's shot was blocked by impressive 7-footer Dejan Musli at the rim. Dion Waiters chased the rebound down in the corner, but his desperation three-pointer at the buzzer rattled in and out.
Forward Nikola Markovic led Serbia with 17 points, 13 rebounds and five steals, while point guard Filip Covic set the pace with his dribble penetration and six assists. Musli had 14 points on 7-9 shooting.
Thomas was the workhorse for the USA inside coming up with a game high 22 points. John Wall produced 18 points, and Gary Franklin scored 12 points, all from behind the arc, and also had a team high 8 rebounds.
DeShaun Thomas 22 points on 11-18 shooting, six rebounds, 1 steal, 2 turnovers in 17 minutes
Thomas was effective flashing to the middle against the Serbian match up zone and then scoring on the bounce. Although he was undersized compared the competition, he grinded out some tough buckets throughout the game.
John Wall 18 points on 8-15 shooting, 2-4 from three, 3 rebounds, 2 blocks, 4 steals, 2 assists, 3 turnovers in 30 minutes
Wall had his way with Serbia early in the game with his typical dribble drives in transition, but the Serbian's adjusted with the zone and did a better job in defensive transition to slow Wall down in the second half. And strangely enough, Wall spent a lot of the second half on the wing with Franklin controlling the ball.
Gary Franklin 12 points on 4-10 shooting, 4-8 from three, 0-2 from the line, 8 rebounds, 1 steal, 2 assists in 25 minutes
Franklin played with a lot of energy as indicated by his rebounding totals. He also hit some big shots against the zone.
Puerto Rico's Raymond Cintron Cortez kept his team in the game with his hot shooting going for 27 points, and Jesus Rivera Cruz snagged 13 rebounds.
Avery Bradley 18 points on 8-10 shooting, 0-2 from three, 2-2 from the line, 1 block, 2 steals, 1 turnover in 19 minutes
Bradley was up to his same old tricks of dogging the ball defensively and scoring efficiently.
Jordan Hamilton 14 points on 5-14 shooting, 2-7 from three, 2-3 from the line, 15 rebounds, 2 turnovers in 25 minutes
Other than forcing a couple shots, Hamilton played a strong overall game. He was especially good on the defensive boards and then igniting the fastbreak.
John Henson 11 points on 4-9 shooting, 1-2 from three, 2-6 from the line, 9 rebounds, 9 blocks, 2 steals, 2 assists, 3 turnovers in 26 minutes
At times it just wasn't fair with Henson's length and aggressive pursuit of the ball on defense. Just missing a triple-double, Henson clearly was the best big man on the court.
Reggie Bullock 11 points on 5-11 shooting, 1-4 from three, 5 rebounds, 1 steal, 2 assists, 2 turnovers in 18 minutes
An impressive looking wing player, Bullock has the potential to become one of the top shooting guards in the class. He showed some nice body control scoring off the bounce.
Roscoe Smith 16 points on 4-11 shooting, 1-2 from three, 2-4 from the line, 6 rebounds, 1 block, 1 steal, 1 assist, 1 turnover in 16 minutes
Smith impressed the most with his energetic play defensively and on the glass.
Harrison Barnes picked up an offer from UCLA and has received increased attention from North Carolina, Louisville and Georgetown. It looks like he will be a prospect who can truly choose his school. He also noted that he is not leaning any one direction and has no leader at the moment.
Roger Franklin is down to Oklahoma State, Indiana, Michigan State, Arizona, Texas A&M and Oklahoma.
Phil Pressey is listing Missouri, Louisville, UConn, Texas, Texas A&M, Tennessee, Florida, Kansas and Marquette.
Brackets and complete box scores can be found at www.primetimepdx.com/ngc/ngc_stat.htm or just go to www.NikeGlobalChallenge.com.