West survives Southern push at NGC

By a 98-95 margin, the USA West team defeated the South in Saturday's final at the Nike Global Challenge. Stanley Johnson and D'Angelo Russell were named co-MVPs.

The ultra-talented West fought off a determined challenge from the South, and the victors needed every bit of production they could squeeze from Stanley Johnson. The uncommitted forward finished the event with a 23-point, 11-rebound outing, further enhancing his status and cementing the co-MVP award.

Justin Jackson also turned in a fine performance, adding 17 points, 11 rebounds and six assists. The Johnson/Jackson duo combined for 18-33 shooting, while the team as a whole shot 47 percent. Kelly Oubre didn't enjoy the most efficient outing (5-15 field goals) but tossed in 14 points and eight boards.

For the South, the final actually didn't prove to be D'Angelo Russell's finest outing. After several prior explosions, he shot just 4-12 en route to 10 points. Still, given his body of work during the weekend, he warranted the co-MVP designation.

Joel Berry was the most effective player for the South, capping a very strong couple weeks. He scored 21 points (8-14 FG) to accompany seven rebounds, four assists and four steals. Big man Josh Owens continued his fine play as well, adding another 17 points and 10 boards. He certainly proved himself up to the challenge in DC.

The Challenge's conclusion wraps up the Nike circuit's events for this travel season. Nike-backed teams will disperse for the final leg of the July evaluation period, with numerous squads heading to Orlando to finish the month. Our focus will turn there as well as Las Vegas for the annual smorgasbord of events to close the summer 2013 show.

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