Siva earns MVP in high-scoring Derby Classic

Peyton Siva took home team MVP honors in the Kentucky Derby Festival Basketball Classic Saturday night at Freedom but he couldn't help his team overcome the inside strength of the Gold team in a 151-145 loss.

Peyton Siva wowed the crowd with his slick ball-handling and passing skills and speed in the court open court. The future Louisville star finished with 15 points, a game-high 11 rebounds and three steals in 23 action-packed minutes. Siva made 6 of 13 shots, but struggled with his three-point shooting, making only 1 of 7 from deep.

"I had a great time," Siva said. "I had a great experience playing with my future teammates. We connected right away. Everybody did good tonight and hopefully they will in the future, too."

Though Siva helped keep the Black team in contention, the Gold was too strong around the basket, winning the battle on the backboard 71-51. The Gold out-scored the Black 28-23 on second chance points and had four more fast break points. The Gold also made 10 more free throws than the Black team.

Siva made several highlight plays in the game, including a crowd-pleasing alley-oop to Rakeem Buckles and a between the legs, off the backboard assist to Lakeem Jackson for a dunk.

"He's a very exciting player," Buckles said of Siva. "I've got to get used to his passes because I really wasn't ready for some of them. He's quick and I've got to get in better shape to run with him."

Rakeem Buckles provided his
team's offense after the break.

"I like the way he plays and his style," Mike Marra said of Siva. "He gets the ball to the open guy."

Buckles, a Louisville signee, help rally the Black team from a 70-59 halftime deficit with an 18-point third quarter. Buckles finished with a team-high 26 points, hitting 12 of 18 shots, including 2 of 4 three's. The 6-foot-8 forward also had six rebounds and two assists.

"I came out really nervous in the game," Buckles said. "I just got my confidence in the third quarter and started playing. It was a great environment. I had a lot of fun."

Louisville signee Mike Marra scored 10 points and grabbed six rebounds. He also won the dunk contest at halftime and finished in a tie for second behind Indiana's Jordan Hulls in the three-point shooting contest. Marra hit 2 of 7 three's and also had two assists and two steals.

"It was overwhelming. It was crazy..a lot of fun," Marra said. "I was speechless winning the dunk contest. I wanted to come out and show people that I'm not just a shooter. I wasn't hitting many shots tonight so hopefully winning the dunk contest made up for it."

Stephan Van Treese, another Louisville signee, had a solid game with 11 points and seven rebounds.

Florida State signee Michael Snaer led the Gold team with a game-high 30 points to earn MVP honors for his team. Snaer was unstoppable in transition and scored most of his points slashing to the basket.

Also for the Gold, Indiana signee Christian Watford finished with 26 points and seven rebounds. Another future Hoosier, Maurice Creek, had 21 points and six rebounds. UCLA's Brendan Lane scored 15 points. Daniel Orton finished with a double-double - 12 points and 12 boards. Kentucky's Jon Hood added 13 points.

For the Black team, future Oklahoma State guard Raymond Penn had 24 points, hitting 5 of 10 three-pointers. South Carolina's Lakeem Jackson added 14 points, with USC-bound Noel Johnson adding 10 points. Kansas' Elijah Johnson added 11 points.

Three-Point Shooting Contest Results
Jordan Hulls – 14
Erik Murphy – 13
Mike Marra – 13
Maurice Creek – 13

Dunk Contest Results
Mike Marra – 39
Jon Hood – 29
Lakeem Jackson – 29
Brendan Lane – 26

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