AIA Drops Decision

Alex Ruoff's assist gave the U.S. Athletes In Action team a brief lead in the third quarter, but the squad was unable to hold it after rallying from a double-digit deficit and dropped a 69-66 decision to even its record at 2-2 in the Jones Cup in Taipei, Taiwan.

Ruoff's assist was one of three he recorded in 24 minutes of action. He scored two points and had four rebounds in the contest. Teammate Darris Nichols did not attempt a shot and had one rebound, one assist and one steal in just 11 minutes of play. His absence from the court for long stretches clearly affected the U.S. team's efficiency.

After enduring a sluggish first quarter in which it trailed by seven at the end, AIA fell even further behind in the second.

Jordan (2-2) scored six straight points to begin the second frame and AIA had its largest deficit of the tournament, 13, with 6:46 remaining before halftime. It steadily decreased its deficit to seven scoring on its next three possessions.

After a Jordanian three-pointer pushed the U.S. deficit back to double digits, the Americans made three consecutive three-point baskets to pull within a point. Jordan then scored four unanswered points and lead by five at halftime, 34-29.

The second half began with the two teams trading baskets for the first six minutes with the U.S. trimming its deficit and tying the game at 43 on a jumper by Eric Pollitz (Ottawa, Ohio/Miami University).

AIA then earned its first lead of the game, 48-47, with 1:27 remaining in the third after Cliff Hammonds (Cairo, Ga./Clemson) stole the ball and scored underneath on a fast break pass from Ruoff (Spring Hill, Fla./West Virginia). Two free throws by Sloan at the end of the period gave AIA a 52-50 lead at the start of the fourth quarter.

Leading 56-53 with 6:41 remaining, AIA was outscored 11-0 over the next 4:30 and fell behind by eight.

Rawlings' three-pointer with 6.4 seconds left cut the deficit to two. Wright then made the first of two foul shots to push the Jordan lead to three. He missed the second, but no one could control the loose ball rebound which allowed time to expire.

AIA faces Lebanon on Friday, July 6, at 1 p.m. (1 a.m. EDT).

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