Griffin Challenge: 2009 Game

NEWARK, N.J. – Philly's lone win at the 4th annual Eddie Griffin Challenge came courtesy of Oscar Griffin's 22 points and 8 rebounds. He and Jersey's Dexter Strickland were named the game's MVP's.

This one was a battle.

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."

NJ's Dexter Strickland
Griffin played like a confident wing player Saturday afternoon. His game opened up from the perimeter and he stayed active. We've seen him enough times to sense that he's about to hit his stride and should have an excellent sophomore season.

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.

Dalton Pepper Shot Chart
Nurideen Lindsey, a Philly point guard, hit for 15 and he's got a chance to be a nice player if he tightens up his decision making. … Justin Crosgile, a shifty and fast point guard out of Jersey, is one of those speed demons. As he matures he'll need to find another gear besides fast; he's real fast by the way. … Shooting guard Dominic Cheek for Jersey has a load of potential in an undeveloped body with a fine stroke and approach to the game. … We really like Jersey point guard Tamir Jackson, a creator, who has a chance to be a fine player. …

Oscar Griffin said Wisconsin, LSU and Maryland are banging him early. …


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. …

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