BOYS MCDONALD’S ALL AMERICAN GAME: Blue Devil recruits combine for 30 points in East victory
Pat Leonard | Thursday, March 31, 2005
Duke manages to have successful seasons even when it doesn’t contend for the national title.
Blue Devil recruits Josh McRoberts (Carmel, Ind.) and Greg Paulus (Manlius, N.Y.) carried the McDonald’s All-American East team to a 115-110 win over the West Wednesday night at the Joyce Center.
McRoberts was named the game’s MVP after scoring 17 points and grabbing a game-high 12 rebounds. Paulus helped out with 13 points and nine assists. Both McRoberts and Paulus played 24 minutes, the most by any other player in the 28th annual McDonald’s game.
Led by 24 points from Oklahoma State-bound Gerald Green – the most impressive scoring threat on the floor and winner of this year’s dunk contest – the East pulled away after seeing a 65-43 halftime lead shrink to a tie with under two minutes to go in an unusually competitive game compared to past years.
“They kind of jumped on us in the second half,” McRoberts said, “but we hung in there and got the win.”
Green scored five of the East’s first seven points in the second half after shooting 4-for-4 from 3-point range in a 14-point first half effort. The East then led 72-49, but the West came roaring back.
West point guard Mario Chalmers (Anchorage, AK – Kansas) dropped 13 points in a 20-2 run to narrow the East lead to 74-69.
Teams exchanged baskets for a good portion of the half up until a television timeout with 7:59 to go. After the East led at that point, 97-85, West coach Al Rhodes went with a lineup that included Chalmers and fellow Kansas recruit Julian Wright (7-for-9, 14 points).
The West closed the lead to four, 106-102, with 1:57 remaining and tied the game after consecutive field goals from Monta Ellis (Jackson, Miss. – Mississippi State).
Green regained the lead for the East, however, with two free throws. Paulus then sank 5-of-6 from the charity stripe down the stretch to seal the victory.
The East shot 51.4 percent to the West’s 44.6 percent.
Notre Dame recruit Luke Zeller (Washington, Ind.) started the game for the West squad and played 15 total minutes.
Zeller played the high post and did not see the ball much. He shot 0-for-2 on the evening and grabbed two rebounds to go with two assists.
“I loved playing on the Joyce Center floor,” Zeller said. “I wish I could have given [the fans] something to cheer for, but we’ll have to wait until later.”
McRoberts, on the other hand – the only player other than Zeller from Indiana to participate in the game – was forced to answer questions about possibly skipping college to play professionally.
“Right now, I just really want to go to college and have that experience to play for [Duke coach Mike Krzyzweski],” he said. “I feel like I’m not ready for the NBA physically or mentally.”
The West led only once in the game when Martell Webster (Edmond, Wash. – Washington) banked in a 3-pointer on the team’s first possession to make the score 3-1.
McRoberts responded to the basket with a deep bucket of his own, making the score 4-3 East as McRoberts would go on to tie Green for the lead in scoring at half with 14 points apiece.
Paulus is a two-sport high school All-American, earning the honor in football and basketball. Notre Dame recruited Paulus – a quarterback in high school – for football, but the New York native decided to put his football career on hold and play basketball at Duke.
The East’s Tasmin Mitchell (Denham Springs, La. – Louisiana State) was given this year’s McDonald’s Sportsmanship Award at halftime of Wednesday’s game. Mitchell scored six points in 13 minutes.