The World Select Team, led by 30 points from Canada’s Jamal Murray, defeated the USA 103-101 at the Nike Hoop Summit in Portland, Oregon, the third time since 2012 that they have won the prestigious event.
Murray scored 10 of his points in the final period as the World Team, which had led by as many as 14 points in the first half, held off a strong USA comeback, led by 22 points from Luke Kennard.
“It’s been a phenomenal group, real character kids who are a lot of fun to coach, willing to make sacrifices for each other,” said winning coach Roy Rana of Canada. “It’s a testament to their character and it’s one of the reasons why we love doing this event, because you get to see young people blossom in a very short period of time and go on to have incredible futures.”
The World Team also saw outstanding performances from Australia’s Ben Simmons, who had 13 points, 9 rebounds and a World Team Hoop Summit record 9 assists. Skal Labissiere, from Haiti, scored 21 points for the winning team while the USA had five players in double figures with Brendon Ingram and Jalen Brunson each scoring 12.
The World Team made a blistering start to the game with a 12-0 opening and four blocks as they held the hosts scoreless for the first 5:33 minutes.
A Simmons basket early in the second quarter shot the World Team into a 34-20 advantage before the hosts reeled off a 12-1 run, featuring eights points from Malik Newman, to cut the deficit to three. Unanswered baskets from Simmons and Labissiere halted the American run, however, and Murray took his first half total to 16 points with the World Team’s last five for a 47-44 interval lead.
“I kind of knew how the USA was going to play, I thought they were going to play very aggressive and they did,” said Murray who was a member of the World Team that lost the 2014 Hoop Summit. “We just came out here to play our game, stick to the script and didn’t try to do too much, and I just helped the team make the right plays.”
That set up a thrilling second half, in which the USA took their first lead on an Ingram basket at 54-51, the first of six second half lead changes.
A three-pointer from Serbia’s Stefan Peno, as time expired at the end of the third quarter, restored the World Team’s edge at 79-77 and strong scoring performances from Labissiere and Murray saw the visitors squeeze ahead 98-91 with only 3:24 minutes left to play.
After the USA tied the score at 98-98, three free-throws from Italian Federico Mussini put the World into a lead they would not surrender the rest of the way, although a score from Kennard, with 13 seconds remaining, set up a tense finale as he cut the World advantage to 102-101.
A free-throw from Labissiere left the home team with the chance to tie the game with 2.6 seconds on the clock but an American miss secured a memorable win for the international players.