Andre Stephens scored four points and grabbed four rebounds in the loss.
May 28, 2008
By David Scott Special C-USA Correspondent
GUANGDONG, CHINA - In the mother of all road games, Team Conference USA couldn't overcome the homecooking of Team China, as the hosts took an 87-80 win in the first of three games in the Sino-American Basketball Classic on Wednesday night at a near-capacity (4,000) Dongguan Tangxia Arena.
The C-USA all-star team - made up of seven Memphis players and five players from three league schools (UTEP, Tulsa and Southern Miss) - led 40-37 at halftime despite being whistled for 12 more first half fouls than Team China (18-6). But the free throw discrepancy was too much to overcome as the homestanding national team shot 25 of 39 from the charity stripe to just 12 of 18 for Team C-USA. Southern Miss's Jeremy Wise and Memphis's Robert Dozier led Team C-USA with 13 points each, Memphis's Doneal Mack added 12 and UTEP's Claude Britten had 10 points and a team-high nine rebounds. The Chinese were led by Kai Zhang's 20 points on 9 of 11 from the field.
"There was a lot of body to body contact today," said Team C-USA head coach John Calipari. "Our foul trouble was mostly based on our conditioning as much as anything. We've only had three practices together, but I thought we played well and I'm happy we were able to out-rebound them (43-40).
"We really enjoyed being a part of this charity event to support the earthquake victims and means a lot to our team, our university and our conference to be involved in this tour and to be able to help our Chinese friends in any way we can," said Calipari. "Team China is a terrific team with a terrific coach (Jonas Kazlauskas)."
Team China was able to connect on 8 of its 24 3-point attempts as Team C-USA hit 6 of 20. Memphis's Shawn Taggart grabbed eight rebounds to go with his eight points and Dozier snagged seven boards. Zhang led all rebounders with 10.
"I'm proud to be part of this team and I thought we played pretty well," said Wise, who scored nine of his 13 from beyond the arc (3 of 4). "I didn't expect any of this when I found out we were coming over here and it's just been an incredible experience. I've gotten to know all the guys and my coaches and I feel like we've all come together really quickly."
The two teams will meet in Game 2 of the three game series on Friday in Yangjiang at 8 p.m. local time. Team C-USA will depart for that city on Thursday morning at 9 a.m. for a four hour bus ride to the next stop.
Player Points Rebounds Assists Minutes Misc.
Kemp* 3 3 2 26 0 of 3 from 3-pt
Wise 13 2 2 20 1 St/1 TO
Uzoh 7 2 1 17 & nbsp;& nbsp; 1 St/2TO
Mack* 12 2 0 26 2 of 5 from 3-pt
Anderson* 6 1 0 29 1 st/2 TO
Stone 0 0 2 14 0 of 1 FG
Robinson 4 3 1 12 1 Block
Stephens 4 4 0 15 2 of 4 FG
Dozier* 13 7 1 24 5 of 11 FG
Niles 0 2 0 6 0 of 1 FG
Taggart* 8 8 0 23 2 BL
Britten 10 9 0 14 5 OF 6 FG< /P>
Team C-USA shot 31 of 75 from the field (6 of 20 from 3-pt.)
Team China shot 27 of 66 (8 of 24)
Game was tied 78-78 with 2:20 left.