Murray writes a winning script for World Select Team in Nike Hoop Summit

Murray writes a winning script for World Select Team in Nike Hoop Summit

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Murray writes a winning script for World Select Team in Nike Hoop Summit

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Jamal Murray led the World Select team to a 103-101 over Team USA in the Nike Hoop Summit Saturday in Portland.  USA Basketball photo.

Jamal Murray led the World Select team to a 103-101 over Team USA in the Nike Hoop Summit Saturday in Portland. USA Basketball photo.

PORTLAND, Ore. — Jamal Murray had seen the movie before, only this time, he changed the ending.

Murray, the only player in Saturday’s Nike Hoop Summit who played in last year’s game, led the World Select Team to a 103-101 defeat of Team USA with 30 points and five assists.

RELATED: Five things we learned from the Nike Hoop Summit

“Well, I kind of knew what it was already about and knew how the USA was going to play, which was very aggressive,” said the Kitchner, Ontario, native who plays for Athlete Institute in Orangeville, Ontario. “We needed to just come out here and play our game. I just stuck to the script, trying not to do too much and just help the team make the right plays.”

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The World Select Team, buoyed by a big height advantage, took a 12-0 lead to start the game and held a 14-3 edge in the first half in second-chance points. The U.S. squad tightened its defense and gradually got back into the game, led by Duke signee Luke Kennard of Franklin, Ohio, who had 22 points. The World Team’s height showed in the final stats as it rebounded the USA 40-29 and had 12 blocks.

“We knew their size was going to be an issue in the beginning,” U.S. coach Eric Flannery said. “There was no way to duplicate their size in practice. The first couple of minutes, we were a little taken back by their length. We needed to speed the game up, to make it a running match to isolate their size a bit. We started becoming the aggressors in the second half.”

Kennard dunked with 13 seconds left to cut the World Select lead to 102-101. Skal Labissiere hit one of two free throws to push the lead to 103-101, but the U.S. had a chance to win the game with the ball in Kennard’s hands. His attempt at a shot with two seconds left was blocked by LSU signee Ben Simmons of Montverde (Fla.) Academy and after the ball went out of bounds, Allonzo Trier’s last-ditch shot hit the side of the backboard as time ran out.

“I knew he was going to try to shoot it,” said Simmons of the crucial block on Kennard. “I’m 6-10 and my wingspan is 7 feet, so I was going to make it difficult to shoot over me. I was just trying to make sure I didn’t foul him and luckily enough, Cheick (Diallo) was there to help.”

Simmons nearly had a triple-double. He set a Nike Hoop Summit record with nine assists and he also had 13 points and nine rebounds.

“Every time we’ve won, we had a very special player who has been selfless,” World Select coach Roy Rana said. “I’m not surprised that Ben broke the assist record. He’s much more willing to help his team be successful and takes great joy in that. He has a special talent in his ability to pass and that is going to create a special future for him.”

Murray, despite playing with what he called a tight left thigh, never seemed out of sync on Saturday and had only three turnovers in 31 minutes.

“That’s my game,” Murray said. “That’s how I play. I hit shots, get to the rim and look for open guys, provide energy, but my main goal is to win the game.”

The U.S. holds a 12-6 edge in the Nike Hoop Summit, but the World Select Team has won four of the past five games, with another Canadian, Andrew Wiggins, leading World Select to wins in 2012 and 2013. Unlike Wiggins, Murray said he never considered coming to the U.S. to play high school basketball.

“A lot of people say in Canada that I’m not playing good talent, but when I come here and do this, they can’t say anything now,” Murray said. “I’m going to do my thing in Canada, stay close to home.”

Murray has a big choice to make. He has to decide whether to reclassify and go to college next fall or stay in school another year.

“Reclassifying is still an option,” Murray said. “I haven’t put a lot of thought into it. I’ve been very busy. I’m just trying to find a time to sit down with my dad and my coaches and really discuss it.”

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