GSK: Holy Rams Close Out Glaxo Strong

Playing at 2:20 p.m. on the final day of the 2010 GlaxoSmithKline Holiday Invitational wasn't in Word of God's plans at the beginning of the week. The Holy Rams wanted, and in a lot of ways expected, to be playing in Thursday night's final.

The I.C. Norcom Greyhounds (VA) changed all that Monday when they beat the Holy Rams 64-62 in overtime. After bouncing back against Kiski School (PA) Wednesday, Word of God took on Brandon High School (MS) Wednesday in the fifth place game of the GlaxoSmithKline Holiday Invitational.

Word of God closed out its trip to Broughton High School strong, beating Brandon 74-42 and dominating play for much of the game.

The Holy Rams wasted little time against the Bulldogs, building a 22-7 edge after the first quarter and a 22-point lead at the half. Word of God's full-court pressure and uptempo pace kept the ball out of the post and away from Brandon's Tyler Adams, a 6'9" Georgetown signee.

Word of God's pressure forced Brandon into 10 first half turnovers and led to several fast-break opportunities.

After giving up a 20-point lead against Norcom Monday and struggling to hold a lead against Kiski Wednesday, Word of God coach Quentin Jackson said his team needed to stay focused for the entire game. Thursday against Brandon, the Holy Rams did just that.

Word of God outscored the Bulldogs by 10 in the second half despite emptying its bench for parts of the third and much of the fourth quarter.

NC State signee Joseph Uchebo only tallied five points Thursday, but the 6'10" center from the class of 2011 played well inside against Adams, grabbing 12 rebounds and holding Adams to just 11 points.

Torian Graham, a 2012 NC State target, led Word of God Thursday with 26 points, 14 of which came in the first half. Graham hit four three-pointers and went 6-of-13 from the field. T.J. Warren, another target from the class of 2012, tallied 17 points against the Bulldogs.

Word of God will return to the court Jan. 6 when it visits Flora McDonald Academy in Red Springs, NC.

PLAYER OBSERVATIONS
C Joseph Uchebo

After scoring 13 and 14 points in his first two games of the 2010 GlaxoSmithKline Holiday Invitational, Uchebo was only able to muster five against Brandon High School Thursday, shooting just twice and hitting one of his two free throw attempts.

Despite the lack of touches on offense, Uchebo showed up on defense and the boards against Brandon's Tyler Adams, a Georgetown signee. Uchebo more than held his own against the 250-pound Adams, keeping him out of the lane and not allowing him to get in a rhythm offensively.

While his athleticism is not overwhelming, it is just enough for Uchebo to get the job done. His work ethic on the boards was clearly evident Thursday against Adams.

SF T.J. Warren
Warren is listed at 6'7", but at times he plays much bigger than that. Thursday against Brandon he went to the basket numerous times and was able to finish inside with ease.

Crafty may be the best way to describe Warren, who also pulled down four rebounds against the Bulldogs. After transferring from Durham Riverside to Word of God, Warren looks more than able to fit into a system where he is not always the go-to-guy.

SG Torian Graham
By far the most impressive member of the Holy Rams Thursday. Hit four of his seven three-pointers against Brandon on his way to 26 points. Graham is listed at just 6'3" but he plays more like a 6'6" wing and has long arms.

Graham's athletic ability shows up on the defensive end of the floor, where his length and mobility make him an excellent perimeter defender.


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