May 30, 2008
By David Scott
C-USA China Special Correspondent
YANGJIANG, CHINA - Despite another impressive effort from UTEP's Claude Britten, Team Conference USA dropped Game 2 of its three-game China Tour 92-88 at the Yangjiang Arena on Friday. Britten and Memphis' Doneal Mack tied for game-high scoring honors with 17 points each.
Playing again in a game that sometimes felt as if it were 8 on 5, Team C-USA led at the end of each of the first three quarters, but phantom calls and good old home-cooking spelled defeat for John Calipari's squad once again.
"When you're on the road - whether it's here or in the states - you don't expect to get the calls," said Calipari. "And we're REALLY on the road here. We're FAR away from home."
Even so, Calipari's crew - made up of seven Memphis Tigers and five players from three other C-USA teams - showed remarkable moxie in the face of decided disadvantages. Players like Britten (17 points, 8 rebounds and three dunks in 17 minutes) and Mack (17 points, including 4 of 8 from 3-point land) spearheaded the Team C-USA attack.
Memphis' Antonio Anderson added 16 points and fellow Tiger Robert Dozier had 15 and a game-high nine rebounds. As a team, the C-USA All Stars had more offensive rebounds (30) than Team China had total rebounds (29), and out-rebounded the hosts by 20 (49-29).
"They made the big plays at the end to come out on top," said Mack, pointing out that the game was tied 75-75 with just under five minutes left. "There are a couple of key things that we need to key in on that we didn't get done at the end.
"It's been an honor to be playing in these games against Team China," said Mack, who has now scored 29 points in the two contests to lead Team C-USA. "This experience of playing against Olympians will make all of us better in the long run."
Calipari added, "We were better defensively tonight, we posted the ball better and shot well. I thought we had them down to where we could win it but they made every play they had to."
Memphis' Jeff Robinson had nine points and four rebounds in 10 minutes, and Team C-USA shot 30-of-74 from the field (6-of-19 from 3-point land). Team China shot 22-of-40 from the field (7-of-24) and once again was called for far fewer fouls (32-23) after being whistled for 10 fewer fouls on Wednesday. The Chinese shot nine more free throws in total (27-of-38 to 22-of-29) and forced 20 Team C-USA turnovers.
The third and final game of the China journey will be played Sunday at 7:30 p.m. local time (6:30 a.m. CT) in Huizhou at the Huizhou Jiangbei Arena. The team will bus to Huizhou early Saturday morning in a trip expected to take about five hours.
Player Pts Rebs Asts Mins Misc.
Kemp* 0 2 2 24 0-of-1 FG/2 st
Wise 4 2 1 15 1-of-6 FG/1 st
Uzoh 5 3 0 15 3-of-4 FT/1 st
Mack* 17 5 2 25 4-of-8 from 3-pt
Anderson* 16 5 2 26 9-of-10 FT/1 st
Stone 0 1 0 14 0-of-2 FG
Robinson 9 4 0 10 4-of-5 FG/1 st
Stephens 0 4 0 9 2 st
Dozier* 15 9 1 24 4-of-10 FG/1 st
Niles 0 1 0 8 0-of-1 FG
Taggart* 5 4 0 11 2-of-3 FG
Britten 17 8 0 17 8-of-9 FG