Louisville, Ky. – Sore hamstring and all, Eric Gordon and the rest of high school basketball's biggest names put their games on display at Louisville's Freedom Hall Wednesday night in the McDonald's All-America game.
It was a game that wasn't decided until the final seconds. With the West squad leading 114-112, the East's O.J. Mayo missed a potential game-winning 3-pointer with three seconds left. Teammate Nick Calathes corralled the rebound but then missed an up-and-under putback attempt and the West escaped with the two-point win in front of 11,632 fans.
Kansas State-bound big man Michael Beasley led the way for the West with 23 points (on 10-of-13 shooting), 12 rebounds and two assists, earning game MVP honors.
It was a relatively quiet night for IU's lone participant in the game, guard Eric Gordon. The Indianapolis North Central H.S. star, who said he's been bothered by a hamstring injury suffered in last weekend's state championship game, started for the West squad and finished with 13 points on 5-of-13 shooting to go along with three rebounds and two assists.
He was one five East players in double figures, joining Beasley, future UCLA Bruin Kevin Love (13), Arizona-bound Jerryd Bayless (11) and future Duke Blue Devil Kyle Singler (10).
But Gordon was just happy to emerge from high school's premiere all-star game on the winning end of the closest McDonald's game since 1994.
"Beasley got the MVP, but it feels like everyone got an MVP just by winning," Gordon said.
Gordon admitted he was impressed with the player of the 6-10, 240-pound Beasley, who will be playing for Bob Huggins next season. Beasley was the only player to corral double-digit rebounds, dominated in the paint and also displayed range out to the 3-point line, knocking down two out of three attempts.
"He's really talented," Gordon said. "You don't see too many guys that are 6-9 and athletic like that."
The East was led by North Carolina State-bound forward J.J. Hickson, who finished with 14 points, and Florida-bound guard Nick Calathes who added 13 points, five rebounds and six assists. Mayo, meanwhile, added 12 points, but struggled through a 4-of-17 shooting night, including a 1-of-9 effort from behind the 3-point arc.
Gordon was often matched up with the USC-bound Mayo defensively. Mayo and Gordon are ranked No. 1 and 2, respectively, on Scout.com's 2007 rankings, but it wasn't the first time the two have crossed paths during their years on the AAU circuit. Gordon said Tuesday that he's probably gone up against Mayo as much as any player during the last several years.
"We've been going at it for a long time," Gordon said. "I know I'm a good defensive player, and I'd rather go against him because he's a really good player."
As is often the case with these sort of all-star contests, the game was more style than substance. The 11,000 -plus on-lookers were treated to plenty of points and acrobatic dunks, including one at the close of the first half by Syracuse-bound Johnny Flynn that brought fans and players to their feet. They also had an opportunity to see the biggest names in the class such as Gordon, Mayo and Beasley.
But it was a game that was more about trying to put up big numbers, alley-oops and trying to make the highlight play in front of a national television audience.
Gordon admitted that can be a tough environment to play in at times.
"It's tough because everyone is trying to score, but the main thing is everyone contributing to score," Gordon said.
Ultimately, the West did just enough to come away with the win.
"I thought we'd win by a little more, but it was a tough, competitive game," Gordon said.
Gordon, West Prevail in McDonald's Game
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