NEWARK, N.J. – With stellar efforts from the biggest guy (Samardo Samuels) to the smallest (Travon Woodall) on its roster, New Jersey barely held of one determined Nasir Robinson as it bested Philly in the junior game at the Eddie Griffin Challenge.
Guards. Jersey had four of them and they combined for 47 points. Mix in a little Samardo Samuels (16 points) and that was all the juniors from the Garden State needed to defeat Philly 101-98. However, as Jersey threatened to turn this one into a laugher, Philly's Nasir Robinson emptied the tank and led his team to a near upset.
Robinson ruled the court in the second half as the 6-foot-4 small forward slashed his way to 24 points. They weren't an easy two dozen to come by either as Robinson did it the hard way. He shot 10-for-22 from the floor and unofficially 4-for-15 from the line but his sheer will and determination didn't show up in the box score.
"The guy was great, he was good," Jersey MVP Travon Woodall said of Robison. "Besides that he's a great kid. He reminds me of Charles Barkley, actually a lot of players."
The 5-foot-11 point guard dropped 21 points in the win. He was in total control of his game even though he attacked at times with little regard for his frame. He beats guys to spots and finds the open man. Every now and then they'll find him too as he was on the receiving end of a sweet alley-oop toss.
While Woodall provided the big scoring punch in the second half, teammates Mike Rosario (11 points), Jordan Theodore (10) and Ashton Gibbs (5) were part of a near handful of solid guards that helped guide Jersey to the win.
Anchoring the inside game was Samuels whom we credited with 16 points and 11 rebounds. Samuels, it should be noted, pulled double-duty on Saturday as he hurried to the gym after an afternoon IS8 quarterfinals victory (Scout.com will provide coverage of the final day at IS8 on Sunday).
"We played hard," Woodall said. "Last year was an upset and we wanted to come back stronger and get this "W" especially in our hometown. Anything less than that would have been a failure."
NEW JERSEY – Ashton Gibbs 5, Mike Rosario 11, Travon Woodall 21, Lance Goulbourne 7, Jordan Theodore 10, A.J. Rogers 5, Quintrell Thomas 9, Tyshawn Taylor 5, Samardo Samuels 16, Keon Williams 12.