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April 12, 2009

World stars surprise USA at Nike Hoop Summit

MORE: Watch Online: 2009 Nike Hoop Summit

PORTLAND, Ore.- Serbia's Milan Macvan scored 23 points and Lithuania's Donatas Motiejunas added 21 as the World Select junior basketball team surprised the USA Junior National Select team with a 97-89 victory on Saturday at the Nike Hoops Summit.

It was the World team's first victory in the series since 1998, when Dirk Nowitzki led the foreign stars.

The U.S. stars were led by Xavier Henry with 22 points, including six 3-pointers, and Avery Bradley added 21 as USA lost to the World team for just the third time in 12 meetings.

The USA team has typically been a mismatch for its foreign opponent but this time was an exception. The Americans held the lead for most of the game, but they could never shake the World stars, who started out cold but caught fire late.

USA led 70-61 entering the final period behind the outside shooting of Henry and the solid guard play of Bradley and John Wall. But the World team quickly cut that deficit to 70-68 after five straight points by Croatia's Tomislav Zubcic and a dunk by France's Kevin Seraphin.

"Early in the week he was getting frustrated because he wasn't the man,' " World coach Rob Beveridge of Australia said of Zubcic.

"We told him, just be patient.' All of a sudden, he found out what his role on the team was. Tonight, he came in with confidence and he had a license to shoot the ball."

The World stars took the lead for good when Seraphin scored on a tip-in to make it 85-83 with 2:56 left in the game. By the time Motiejunas hit a pair of free throws with 1:03 left, the World team had an insurmountable 95-86 lead.

Zubcic finished with 17 points while Macvan added 14 rebounds for the winners. Overall, the World team had a whopping 48-2 9 advantage on the boards. Wall finished with 13 points and 11 assists and John Henson added 10 points for USA.

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