The young guys tend to play the most intense games when it comes to an all-star setting and the sophomores set the tone for the day as Philadelphia rode standout games from Dalton Pepper and Oscar Griffin as it handed New Jersey its only loss the 3-game series Saturday evening.
Jersey actually led this one 73-72 going into the final quarter but Griffin's 22 points and 8 boards in combination with Pepper's overall solid floor game and 19 points helped the cause.
In the final two minutes of the game, Griffin made a series of plays that propelled his team to the win. He got it started on the defensive end when he drew a charge from Dexter Strickland (18 points), snared a key rebound and then handed out a pair of game-sealing assists.
"People tell me that I've been timid but I tried to step it up defensively today," Griffin said of his best performance in a while. "I was just trying to be unselfish and get my teammates involved. I want to make everybody around me better."
Pepper, known early on in his career as a shot maker, was poised and serious when it came down to winning time. His 19 points came on an efficient 7-for-10 from the field.
On the Jersey side, Dexter Strickland put up good numbers. He converted 6-of-11 shots and made 5-of-6 from the line. Clearly he's got a gear that he can go when he needs a bucket.
Greg Echenique, a St. Benedict's product, was a beast in the first half. He caught it, sealed his man and dropped in buckets when afforded the chances around the rim. The low-block player finished with 13 and 7 boards though his numbers seemed even louder than they appeared in the scorebook.
NEW JERSEY – Khalil Murphy 6, Justin Crosgile 13, Jimmy Burke 4, Dominic Cheek 17, Tamir Jackson 10, Dexter Strickland 18, Paris Bennett 0, Egosa Edomwonyi 4, Lance Brown 14, Greg Echenique 13.
PHILADELPHIA – Rashad Savage 11, Nurideen Lindsey 15, Henry Smith 4, Lijah Thompson 11, Paris Grant 0, Lamar Patterson 4, Oscar Griffin 22, Rahlir Jefferson 4, Dalton Pepper 19, Khalif Wyatt 12. …