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 Game Two of the tournament.
- - - - - - - -As the team ran through the tunnel entering Saku Arena this evening they were welcomed by a group of Estonian teenagers waving an American flag. The crowd of 3,100 Estonians applauded the team's effort from the previous night, but despite airhorns blowing, fans cheering, and holding NBA veteran Zaza Pachulia to just one field goal for the game, the East Coast All Stars came up short Friday night. A 15-0 All Star run in the fourth quarter gave the group of Americans a 4 point deficit with 2:00 remaining, but the Georgian National Team countered with a 13-0 run of their own, resulting in a 98-81 East Coast defeat.
Rodney McGruder (K-State) once again came out ready to play pouring in 22 points and grabbing 14 rebounds to lead the team in both categories. From the start the game was physical and fast as Georgia, the only participant eligible for the 2011 European World Championships, ran out to a quick 9 point lead. The East Coast front line of Jack Cooley (Notre Dame) and Elliott Eliason (Minnesota) responded on the glass to help end the quarter on an 11-2 run, knotting the game at 20-20.
The second quarter continued providing runs on both sides as the tandem of McGruder and Mike Bruesewitz (Wisconsin) hit the offensive glass hard for some easy baskets, but Georgia had the final run to open up a 49-42 halftime lead.
Early in the 3rd quarter Baye Moussa Keita was subbed out for precautionary reasons due to a minor foot injury, but enough to keep him sidelined for the remainder of the contest. With fouls mounting and the team short-handed Georgia was able to open its lead to 73-64.
Georgia again came out quickly to open up a 19 point lead with 7:34 left in the game. Anthony Johnson (Purdue) and Brandon Triche (Syracuse) then found a rhythm and combined for an 8-0 run cutting the lead to 11 points. On the next possession Cooley again came up with a big defensive rebound, receiving an elbow to the face that drew a foul and stopped play. Cooley's small cut under his eye forced him to check out briefly, but all that did was open the door for Iowa's Matt Gatens. Gatens made both free throws for Cooley, then followed with another transition basket to keep the run alive. The feisty All Stars hung tough chipping away at the Georgian lead and had the ball in their hands down 85-81 but simply ran out of gas.
Manuchar Markoishvilli lead the Georgian National Team in scoring with 20 points and Pachulia of the NBA Atlanta Hawks led them in rebounding with 9.
The team will head into its final game of the Four Nations Cup against tournament host Estonia tomorrow evening. Game time will be 1:00PM EST and televised on Estonia's ETV2.
Anthony Johnson - 6 pts, 2 reb
Matt Gatens - 5 pts, 2 reb, 1 ast, 1 stl
Baye Moussa Keita - 1 reb
Brandon Triche - 12 pts, 2 reb, 1 ast, 2 stl
Pe'Shon Howard - 6 pts, 1 reb, 2 ast, 1 stl
Rodney McGruder - 22 pts, 14 reb, 3 stl
Bryce Cartwright - 11 pts, 2 reb, 3 ast, 1 stl
Mike Bruesewitz - 10 pts, 4 reb, 1 stl (Fouled Out)
Jack Cooley - 7 pts, 9 reb, 1 stl
Elliott Eliason - 2 pts, 5 reb, 1 ast