2011 Four Nations Cup: Estonia
EAST COAST FALTERS IN FINAL
In the final game of the Four Nations Cup Sunday night the East Coast All Stars were in a position to control their own destiny...win and you are the Tournament Champion. For thirty seven minutes of the contest the young group of Americans did just that, until the host Estonian National Team went on a 17-0 run and took the Championship of the 2011 Four Nations Cup by a final score of 75-64.
Syracuse guard Brandon Triche gave the home team fits all night, tallying 25 points in 25 minutes, but it was not enough as Estonian star Kristjan Kangur posted 20 points, 7 rebounds, and 4 assists to claim the Tournament Most Valuable Player. Cup officials voted Kansas State's Rodney McGruder to the All Tournament team for his outstanding play in all three contests.
The All Stars front line kept Estonia at bay all night rebounding together as Minnesota center Elliott Eliason grabbed 7 rebounds, Notre Dame forward Jack Cooley had 6, Wisconsin's Mike Bruesewitz snatched 8 boards, and Syracuse's Baye Moussa Keita led all rebounders with 9.
Switching defenses kept a hot shooting Estonia team off balance, allowing East Coast to lead throughout the first half. The All Stars did much of the same in the 3rd period, stretching their lead to as many as 8 points with 7:00 remaining in the fourth quarter, but the well ran dry shortly after. A steady flow of deep jumpers and transition baskets off of All Star missed shots did the team in, and as the lead dwindled the crowd of 3,000 in attendance, quiet much of the night, made themselves a force down the stretch. Triche broke the 17-0 Estonia run with 32 seconds remaining on a transition dunk, but it was too little too late.
The standing ovation for the individuals making up the 2011 East Coast All Stars at the end of the tournament was a testiment to themselves, their various universities, and the nation they are proud to represent. The team will arrive back in the United States 4:50PM EST on Monday. Thank you for following the 2011 East Coast All Star tour and we hope you join us again next summer. Although Cup officials quickly extended an invitation for the team to return in 2012, those decisions will be made at a later date.
First Place - Estonia National Team
Second Place - Georgia National Team
Third Place - East Coast All Stars
Fourth Place - Sweden National Team
Anthony Johnson - 10 pts, 2 reb, 1 stl
Matt Gatens - 5 pts, 5 reb, 1 ast,
Baye Moussa Keita - 9 reb
Brandon Triche - 25 pts, 3 reb, 1 stl
Pe'Shon Howard - 6 pts, 1 ast, 2 stl
Rodney McGruder - 9 pts, 2 reb, 2 stl
Bryce Cartwright - 2 pts, 1 stl
Mike Bruesewitz - 3 pts, 8 reb, 1 ast, 2 stl
Elliott Eliason - 4 pts, 7 reb, 2 stl
LATE RALLY NOT ENOUGH FOR ALL STARS (98-81)
August 6, 2011
As the team ran through the tunnel entering Saku Arena this evening they were welcomed by a group of Estonian teenagers waving an American flag. The crowd of 3,100 Estonians applauded the team's effort from the previous night, but despite airhorns blowing, fans cheering, and holding NBA veteran Zaza Pachulia to just one field goal for the game, the East Coast All Stars came up short Friday night. A 15-0 All Star run in the fourth quarter gave the group of Americans a 4 point deficit with 2:00 remaining, but the Georgian National Team countered with a 13-0 run of their own, resulting in a 98-81 East Coast defeat.
Rodney McGruder (Kansas State) once again came out ready to play pouring in 22 points and grabbing 14 rebounds to lead the team in both categories. From the start the game was physical and fast as Georgia, the only participant eligible for the 2011 European World Championships, ran out to a quick 9 point lead. The East Coast front line of Jack Cooley (Notre Dame) and Elliott Eliason (Minnesota) responded on the glass to help end the quarter on an 11-2 run, knotting the game at 20-20.
The second quarter continued providing runs on both sides as the tandem of McGruder and Mike Bruesewitz (Wisconsin) hit the offensive glass hard for some easy baskets, but Georgia had the final run to open up a 49-42 haltime lead.
Early in the 3rd quarter Baye Moussa Keita was subbed out for precautionary reasons due to a minor foot injury, but enough to keep him sidelined for the remainder of the contest. With fouls mounting and the team short-handed Georgia was able to open its lead to 73-64.
Georgia again came out quickly to open up a 19 point lead with 7:34 left in the game. Anthony Johnson (Purdue) and Brandon Triche (Syracuse) then found a rythym and combined for an 8-0 run cutting the lead to 11 points. On the next possession Cooley again came up with a big defensive rebound, receiving an elbow to the face that drew a foul and stopped play. Cooley's small cut under his eye forced him to check out breifly, but all that did was open the door for Iowa's Matt Gatens. Gatens made both free throws for Cooley, then followed with another transition basket to keep the run alive. The fiesty All Stars hung tough chipping away at the Georgian lead and had the ball in their hands down 85-81 but simply ran out of gas.
Manuchar Markoishvilli lead the Georgian National Team in scoring with 20 points and Zaza Pachulia of the NBA Atlanta Hawks led them in rebounding with 9.
The team will head into its final game of the Four Nations Cup against tournament host Estonia tomorrow evening. Gametime will be 1:00PM EST and televised on Estonia's ETV2.
Anthony Johnson - 6 pts, 2 reb
Matt Gatens - 5 pts, 2 reb, 1 ast, 1 stl
Baye Moussa Keita - 1 reb
Brandon Triche - 12 pts, 2 reb, 1 ast, 2 stl
Pe'Shon Howard - 6 pts, 1 reb, 2 ast, 1 stl
Rodney McGruder - 22 pts, 14 reb, 3 stl
Bryce Cartwright - 11 pts, 2 reb, 3 ast, 1 stl
Mike Bruesewitz - 10 pts, 4 reb, 1 stl (Fouled Out)
Jack Cooley - 7 pts, 9 reb, 1 stl
Elliott Eliason - 2 pts, 5 reb, 1 ast
EAST COAST WINS THRILLER AT BUZZER (78-77)
August 5, 2011
Although Pe'Shon Howard's thunderous dunk over Sweden National team center Johan Akesson put the crowd into a frenzy Friday evening, it was just a brief part of the 15 point deficit the East Coast All Stars overcame in the final 3:00 of tonight's 78-77 victory. Kansas State's Rodney McGruder was the team's hero as time ran down with a rebound and put back at the buzzer to seal the All Star win.
East Coast responded well to the physical nature of international play ending the first quarter with a 21-19 lead, but struggled to find the mark in the second quarter mustering just 11 points to trail Sweden 38-32 at halftime. Sweden continued its hot shooting in the third period stretching the lead to 63-51, and things began looking bleak as the lead ballooned to 15 points with 3:00 remaining in the contest...then the All Stars went to work.
A suffucating full court press was applied causing back to back turnovers for a Baye Moussa Keita dunk and a power layup by Notre Dame's Jack Cooley cutting the lead to 11. The team continued its intensity into the front court forcing two additional turnovers resulting in clutch three point field goals by Iowa's Matt Gatens and Purdue's Anthony Johnson, bringing the Sweden lead to 5 with just over a minute to play. Following a Sweden transition basket pushing the lead back to 7, East Coast came up with a steal at half court by Maryland's Pe'Shon Howard, and a dunk over the opponent's big man that brought the crowd of 3,720 jumping out of their seats. (Click to see the dunk)
The balanced attack continued as the All Stars forced three more turnovers, allowing Syracuse's Brandon Triche (leading scorer with 17 points) to rattle off 7 points in 19 seconds. Triche was fouled on a drive to make two free throws, knocked down a gutsy three point shot to tie the game at 74-74, then converted on a mid-lane pullup to give them the lead with 15 seconds remaining. Sweden responded with Anton Gaddefor's straight away three point shot that sailed over the rim, but slammed into the backboard and rattled through the net with 6 seconds to play, once again giving Sweden a 77-76 advantage. After a timeout by head coach Guy Rancourt of Lycoming College, McGruder stepped on the floor to provide the end-game heroics. East Coast inbounded the ball to Triche for a final shot, and was able to get a foul line jumper that bounced left, directly where the Kansas State sophomore positioned himself to lay it back in as the horn sounded. (Click to see the final shot)
Three players, Baye Moussa Keita, Mike Bruesewitz, and Elliott Eliason led the team in rebounding with 7. Triche finished with a team high 5 assists, Bruesewitz with 4 steals, and Mousa Keita with 2 blocks. The victory makes the East Coast All Stars 1-0 in tournament play and 2-0 overall. Next up tomorrow night will be one of the team's biggest tests as they face NBA star Zaza Pachulia and the Georgia National Team.
Gametime for tomorrow's contest is slated for 11:30AM EST.
Video from the game found here and here.
Anthony Johnson - 8 pts, 2 reb, 1 ast, 1 stl
Matt Gatens - 10 pts, 3 reb, 2 ast, 2 stl
Baye Moussa Keita - 6 pts, 7 reb, 1 stl, 2 blk (fouled out)
Brandon Triche - 17 pts, 5 reb, 5 ast, 1 stl
Pe'Shon Howard - 6 pts, 3 reb, 2 ast, 2 stl
Rodney McGruder - 10 pts, 4 reb, 3 stl
Bryce Cartwright - 4 pts, 1 reb, 3 ast, 1stl
Mike Bruesewitz - 9 pts, 1 ast, 7 reb, 4 stl
Jack Cooley - 4 pts, 4 reb, 1 stl
Elliott Eliason - 4 pts, 7 reb, 1 ast, 1 stl
East Coast Cruises In Tune Up (104-61)
August 3, 2011
In what will be the team's only exhibition game for 2011, the East Coast All Stars defeated Viimsi Spordikeskuss 104-61 Wednesday evening in front of a crowd of 1,100. The All Stars were led by Syracuse sophomore Baye Moussa Keita with 11 points, 17 rebounds, and 4 blocked shots. Iowa's Matt Gatens and Wisconsin's Mike Bruesewitz led all scorers, each with 15 points.
Viimsi struggled with East Coast's pressure defense from the start, quickly falling behind 34-15 by the end of the first quarter. Brandon Triche of Syracuse University handed out 7 first half assists to help push the lead to 66-28 at the half. Kansas State sophomore Rodney McGruder extended that lead with back to back three point field goals in the third period, stretching the team's margin to 88-41. Viimsi made a late push behind Andre Parn's 11 points, but it was not enough to help his team overcome the 104-61 final. Seven players tallied double figures for the All Stars and each of the ten man roster scored at least one basket.
East Coast will hold a brief practice in Tallinn's Saku Arena Thursday night in final preparation for their matchup Friday(11:30AM EST) with the Sweden National Team.
Click here for photos from the game.
Anthony Johnson - 8 pts, 4 reb, 3 ast
Matt Gatens - 15 pts, 5 reb, 3 ast, 4 stl
Baye Moussa Keita - 11 pts, 17 reb, 4 blk, 1 stl
Brandon Triche - 13 pts, 7 ast, 3 stl, 1 reb
Pe'Shon Howard - 11 pts, 3 stl, 1 reb, 1 stl
Rodney McGruder - 13 pts, 2 reb, 2 stl, 1 ast
Bryce Cartwright - 10 pts, 4 ast, 3 stl, 1 reb
Mike Bruesewitz - 15 pts, 7 reb, 3 ast, 1 stl, 1 blk
Jack Cooley - 3 pts, 5 reb, 2 ast, 5 fouls (fouled out)
Elliott Eliason - 5 pts, 5 reb, 2 stl, 1 ast, 1 blk
Bryce Cartwright; Iowa