City Team Takes Suburbs, 129-120, at MSG

The New York City Team came back with a strong second half to grab a 129-120 victory over the NYC-metro Suburban Team in the preliminary game of Saturday night's 2009 Jordan Brand Classic at Madison Square Garden in The City.

The teams started a bit shorthanded, with the Suburbs down two: St. Benedict's Prep's 6-foot-5, 220-pound small forward Lamar Patterson, who is headed to Pittsburgh, and Rutgers-signee Dane Miller. Miller, a 6-foot-7, 210-pound power forward from Rush-Henrietta High School in the Rochester area, re-injured his left shoulder during practices for Saturday's game and sat on the bench in street clothes.

The City Team had nine-players. James Padgett, an Abraham Lincoln High School big forward who is headed to Maryland, could not participate since he had already played in two all-stars, the max allowed by the NCAA. (more)

As in the past, the Classic doesn't replace players who are unable to compete. So with shorter benches, neither coach made mass substitutions but directed the game as a regular contest, probably because that's what this City-Suburbs annual match is.

Both teams started out slow but soon got their legs making those "oooh" and "ahhh" type of moves the crowd came to see. The Suburbs put up a pack of points and rushed out to an early lead only to see The City knot the game at 21-21.

The Suburbs, via a number of fast break layups started by a defensive rebound, took a 44-35 lead.

The City team came back again. The crowd, though, was disappointed when the white jerseyed guards opted for a sure layin rather than take a chance with a dunk. As in most exhibition games, where players are also trying to entertain, looking to dunk is in the guys' minds. Though some rattle off, sky 15-20 feet, and maybe settle down in the crowd. That had happened a couple times before this point in the game; the players took heed.

The Suburbs broke a 45-all tie for a 50-45 lead, the last four on (this explains why never and ever don't are not definitives in sports) on a pair of crowd-pleasing dunks.

Bishop Ford Central Catholic High School's Chaz Williams, a 5-foot-8 lead guard who is staying close to home at Hofstra, canned a pair of free throws with 0.1 second on the clock for the halftime score, 53-53.

After the break, the City Team picked up a 67-59 lead, with a number of impressive scores by Co-MVP Russell Smith, a 5-foot-11 point guard who appears headed to a prep school. The red-clad Suburban Team wouldn't drop much further away than this, but then they didn't get a whole lot closer either.

Smith put in 27 points to lead the victors. Brandon Triche, 6-foot-4 point guard from DeWitt, N.Y., who is headed to home-town Syracuse, led all players with 33 points and was The Suburbs MVP.


Note: More stats tomorrow. Seems I dropped the box score, somewhere.

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