Mike Bruesewitz's team, the East Coast All-Stars, have begun play in the Four Nations Cup in Estonia. East Coach All-Stars coach Guy Rancourt emailed this update after Friday's opening game.
- - - - - - - -
Although Pe'Shon Howard's thunderous dunk over Sweden National team center Johan Akesson put the crowd into a frenzy Friday evening, it was just a brief part of the 15-point deficit the East Coast All Stars overcame in the final 3:00 of Friday's 78-77 victory. Kansas State's Rodney McGruder was the team's hero as time ran down with a rebound and put back at the buzzer to seal the All Star win.
East Coast responded well to the physical nature of international play ending the first quarter with a 21-19 lead, but struggled to find the mark in the second quarter mustering just 11 points to trail Sweden 38-32 at halftime. Sweden continued its hot shooting in the third period stretching the lead to 63-51, and things began looking bleak as the lead ballooned to 15 points with 3:00 remaining in the contest...then the All Stars went to work.
A suffucating full court press was applied causing back to back turnovers for a Baye Moussa Keita dunk and a power layup by Notre Dame's Jack Cooley cutting the lead to 11. The team continued its intensity into the front court forcing two additional turnovers resulting in clutch 3-point field goals by Iowa's Matt Gatens and Purdue's Anthony Johnson, bringing the Sweden lead to 5 with just over a minute to play.
Following a Sweden transition basket pushing the lead back to 7, East Coast came up with a steal at half court by Maryland's Pe'Shon Howard, and a dunk over the opponent's big man that brought the crowd of 3,720 jumping out of their seats.
The balanced attack continued as the All Stars forced three more turnovers, allowing Syracuse's Brandon Triche (leading scorer with 17 points) to rattle off 7 points in 19 seconds. Triche was fouled on a drive to make two free throws, knocked down a gutsy 3-point shot to tie the game at 74-74, then converted on a mid-lane pullup to give them the lead with 15 seconds remaining.
Sweden responded with Anton Gaddefor's 3-pointer with 6 seconds to play, once again giving Sweden a 77-76 advantage. After a timeout by head coach Guy Rancourt of Lycoming College, McGruder stepped on the floor to provide the end-game heroics. Triche's foul-line jumper was off the mark, but UW's Mike Bruesewitz kept the ball alive, tipping it to McGruder who laid it back in as the horn sounded.
Three players, Bruesewitz, Baye Moussa Keita, and Elliott Eliason led the team in rebounding with 7. Triche finished with a team high 5 assists, Bruesewitz with 4 steals, and Mousa Keita with 2 blocks.
The victory makes the East Coast All Stars 1-0 in tournament play and 2-0 overall. Next up tomorrow night will be one of the team's biggest tests as they face NBA star Zaza Pachulia and the Georgia National Team. Gametime for tomorrow's contest is slated for 10:30 a.m. CT.
Anthony Johnson - 8 pts, 2 reb, 1 ast, 1 stl
Matt Gatens - 10 pts, 3 reb, 2 ast, 2 stl
Baye Moussa Keita - 6 pts, 7 reb, 1 stl, 2 blk (fouled out)
Brandon Triche - 17 pts, 5 reb, 5 ast, 1 stl
Pe'Shon Howard - 6 pts, 3 reb, 2 ast, 2 stl
Rodney McGruder - 10 pts, 4 reb, 3 stl
Bryce Cartwright - 4 pts, 1 reb, 3 ast, 1stl
Mike Bruesewitz - 9 pts, 1 ast, 7 reb, 4 stl
Jack Cooley - 4 pts, 4 reb, 1 stl
Elliott Eliason - 4 pts, 7 reb, 1 ast, 1 stl