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West edges East in McDonald's All-American Game

9/14/2007

LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- Michael Beasley saw O.J. Mayo pull up at
the top of the key, and his heart sank.

"I was like, 'Oh no, that's in,'" Beasley said of Mayo's
game-winning 3-point attempt in the final seconds of the McDonald's
All-American Game at Freedom Hall on Wednesday night.

But Mayo's frustrating night ended the way it began, with a
miss. The shot hit the back of the rim, and Nick Calathes' putback
went long as the West held on for a 114-112 victory in the annual
high school all-star game.

"It felt good, I just had it a little bit long," Mayo said.
"We fought back in it and had our chances, we just came up
short."

Beasley, heading to Kansas State, scored 23 points for the West
and was named the Most Valuable Player.

"Winning the MVP is great, but I'm happier that we got the
win," Beasley said. "O.J., you know he's going to make that shot
most of the time."

Even in defeat, Mayo proved to be the center of attention. The
highly recruited guard will play at Southern California next
season, and as the game's marquee player, he heard it from a
partisan crowd that peppered him with chants of "overrated."

"I'm used to it, I don't notice it," Mayo said.

Mayo did notice the inordinate amount of attention he received
from the West, who harassed him into tough shots all night. He
missed six of his first seven attempts and finished with 12 points
on 4-of-17 shooting.

"He was taking good shots," teammate Patrick Patterson said.
"You could tell they were trying to stop him, but he's been
dealing with that his whole career."

While the crowd seemed to enjoy Mayo's misfortune, it saved its
biggest cheers for Patterson and Jai Lucas, the only two players
who remain unsigned. Both have been heavily recruited by Kentucky,
and both are still considering the Wildcats even after the
departure of coach Tubby Smith. Each finished with eight points.

"It's great, but I'm still going to take my time," Patterson
said. "But you can tell the people here love their basketball."

J.J. Hickson, who will play at NC State next year, led the
East with 14 points. Gani Lawal had 12 points and 12 rebounds for
the East, most of his points coming on a series of powerful dunks.

UCLA-bound Kevin Love had 13 points and six rebounds for the
West and Eric Gordon, who is going to Indiana, added 13 points.
Jerryd Bayless, who will play at Arizona, had 11 points for the
West and Duke signee Kyle Singler scored 10.

Calathes, who has signed at Florida, had 13 points but said
he'll think for a while about the floater that missed at the
buzzer.

"I didn't know how much time was left so I just threw it up,"
he said. "I was pretty accurate, but a little long."

The teams spent the first 35 minutes playing the up-and-down
pace normally associated with all-star games. But things changed in
the final five minutes as the East continued to peck away at the
West's lead. Several times the East cut it to a one possession
game, but couldn't tie it up.

"We wanted to show that we weren't just going to go out there
and do a bunch of dunks and shoot some 3s," Beasley said. "We
wanted to win. That's what was important to us."