AIA Continues Win Streak

Darris Nichols continued his efficient play but Alex Ruoff saw limited action as the U.S. Athletes In Action team defeated Japan 108-83 in the Jones Cup in Taipei, Taiwan.

Nichols made three of seven three-point attempts on his way to nine points in the U.S. convincing win. He added four rebounds, two assists and a steal against just one turnover in 16 minutes of play.

Ruoff played just one minute after scoring 18 points and collecting seven rebounds to help fuel a 92-78 comeback win over Kazakhstan one day earlier. There was no word on the reason for the short time on the court, during which he had one assist and one turnover.

With the victory AIA, which topped the cnetury mark for the second time, improved to 5-2 in the tournament, while Japan dropped to 1-6 and was eliminated from medal contention.

The Americans remain in contention to repeat as Jones Cup champions, trailing Jordan by one game in the overall standings with two games remaining to be played. AIA will face Taiwan on Monday before concluding competition against Iran on Tuesday.

Brad Harris (Winston-Salem, N.C./Lee University) came off the bench to torch the nets for a game-high 25 points, making 6-of-7 3-point field goal attempts.

The two teams combined for 17 total 3-point field goals made, but it was the U.S. that was more selective and accurate with its attempts. The U.S. shot 50 percent (13-of-26) from behind the arc, while Japan made 39 percent (14-of-36) its extra point shots.

The Japanese took eight more attempts from 3 than they did inside the arc.

AIA dominated the glass, limiting Japan to just six offensive rebounds and out-rebounding them by more than 30.

Japan kept the game close early in the first quarter, but as the U.S. forced the tempo its lead continued to grow as it scored a tournament-high 36 first quarter points en route to a 12-point lead at the end of the first period.

The U.S. wasted little time extending its lead at the start of the second quarter, out-scoring their foe 11-3 to push its lead to 20, 47-27, in the first five minutes.

Harris put on a shooting clinic in the second period, making 4-of-5 3-point attempts and scoring 14 of the team's 29 second quarter points.

Harris scored nine consecutive points on 3s to give AIA a 29-point cushion with under two minutes remaining in the half.

AIA led 65-34 at intermission.

Refusing to simply roll over, Japan scored the first 11 points of the second half to cut its deficit to 20 and then pulled within 15 with 1:18 left in the third.

Leading by 17 after three quarters, AIA reestablished itself at the start of fourth. Seven points from Rawlings and a pair of 3s from Asbury and Darris Nichols (Radford, Va./West Virginia) gave AIA a comfortable 88-61 advantage in the first three minutes of the quarter and cruised home for the victory.

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