Stepheson Earns Co-MVP at Roundball

North Carolina signee Alex Stepheson felt he had something to prove at Sunday's Roundball Classic -- and as evidenced by his co-MVP trophy, he made his point. Inside Carolina's Evan Daniels was courtside for the game and talked to Stepheson afterwards. Read a full breakdown of his performance and a postgame interview ...

CHICAGO --- Alex Stepheson put up an MVP-type effort in the 42nd annual Roundball Classic on Sunday at the United Center, scoring 15 points and grabbing six rebounds in 21 minutes of action. However, Stepheson's nice effort wasn't enough to propel the East team to a victory, as the West won 118-102

"It was about having fun competing - we tried to win, but we didn't get the W," Stepheson said after the game. "It was just fun being out there with the guys."

Just like in the practice session on Saturday, Stepheson was matched up with Greg Oden much of the game. The two went at it from the opening tip. Oden drew first blood with a jump hook over Stepheson. But the 6-10, 230-pound North Carolina signee went hard to the glass on the following possession and got a tip in. The next two trips down the floor resulted in Stepheson making a move on Oden and getting to the free throw line. He hit one of two on each trip.

"It's always fun to play against Greg because he's such a big guy," Stepheson said. "But I was just out there trying to hold my own. I think I played well against him."

Stepheson was the only guy on the floor that could guard Oden without any help. While Oden still was able to score at times, Stepheson made it tough for Oden to catch the ball in the post.

"I think being in the weight room really gave me advantage," Stepheson said "But you can't really guard him because he is so good one on one. I was just trying to hold my own. I was just battling."

Like most all-stars games, there very little defense, and while Stepheson tried to hold Oden in check, he didn't receive much help. He picked up three fouls mid-way through the second quarter and was forced to the bench. Before he checked out, he posted up Oden on the block and hit a jump hook in the lane.

Stepheson continued to play hard in the third quarter, and he reaped the benefits of Oden starting the quarter on the bench. He began the period with two dunks in the lane. He followed that up with a monster block on Bryan Davis. In the next few minutes Stepheson had a lay up in traffic and an impressive tip dunk running the fast break. The West pulled away as Stepheson didn't score in the fourth quarter -- he missed a jump hook in the lane and failed to attempt another shot. Stepheson and Oden matched up one more time. Oden backed him down, turned and got swatted by Stepheson's right hand. However, Oden grabbed the ball and threw it home on the second try.

"I came out here with a little chip on my shoulder because I didn't make the McDonald's game," Stepheson said. "But I came ready to play and showed everybody what I could do."

Stepheson was voted as one of the games four MVPs. Derrick Caracter joined him as the other East Co-MVP. The West MVP's were Greg Oden, who finished with 21 points and 11 rebounds, and Daequan Cook.

Alex Stepheson's Stat Line: 15 pts (6-12 FG, 3-6 FT), 6 reb (2 off), 2 blk, 1 to, 4 pf, 21 min

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