Galindo Named MVP
Dan Hurley's St. Benedict's team remained undefeated this season and defeated a tough Archbishop Spalding crew 49-48 to win the 2002 Slam Dunk To The Beach.
Junior small forward Alex Galindo scored 8 points and had 11 rebounds in the championship game, capping a very consistent three-game performance. He was named the MVP of the tournament.
Spalding led for three quarters and was nursing a 3-point lead when the fourth quarter began. However, Mike Glick's team could muster just 4 fourth quarter points as St. Benedict's completed the rally.
JR Smith canned a 3-pointer to tie the score at 44. Minutes later, junior center Stanley Branch, nursing a high ankle sprain, blocked a shot on the perimeter and followed it up with a free throw to give St. Benedict's a working margin of 49-47.
Galindo then fouled Matt Latonick in the act of shooting a 3-pointer with 7.9 seconds remaining. Latonick stepped to the line and sank one of the three free throws. On the last attempt, Will Bowers got his hands on the miss and then Rudy Gay rebounded the ball and missed a shot from short range. From there St. Benedict's held on.
Smith (13 points) Branch (13) and Art Bowers (10) led St. Benedict's in scoring but Hurley's team was really the sum of all its parts.
For Spalding, Gay and Bowers came of age during the tournament. Gay had a superior first half in the title game and finished with 20 and 9. His offensive rebounding really seemed to stick out in our mind and also the energy he brought to the team, especially in the first quarter.
Bowers has come a long way. He clearly has intentions of being more than just another body on Maryland's roster. His skill level has improved, he's passing well and he can score with his back to the basket. He's a much improved player with the biggest change in his game coming in his attitude, aggressiveness and intensity. He's starting to really come into his own.