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July 26, 2006LAS VEGAS, NEV. - Everything is bigger in Texas and everything big was helping the Houston Hoops claim the Main Event championship on Wednesday at the Cox Pavilion at UNLV. Gary Johnson and Mike Singletary put the Hoops on their backs against Seattle Friends of Hoop.
Houston Hoops claim Main Event
When Gary Johnson is setting the tone, things are generally going to be in the Houston Hoops favor. That was the case in the championship game. The Texas bound forward played his usual physical brand of basketball with a motor that could find a job in Vegas because he is running 24 hours a day and goes full strength no matter the time or day. Johnson led the way with 17 points in the 70-52 tournament victory.
He had help from his running mate Mike Singletary, who had a very strong July showing. Singletary scored 14 points in the victory. He's playing great ball, doing the things that he needs to do to establish himself as a small forward that can play a major role with a high-major. His passing, ball-handling and rebounding is at an all-time high. A championship at the Main Event is the perfect, and fitting, ending to his summer.
A match-up between Jai Lucas and Isaiah Thomas, two diminutive point guards that can excite a crowd with one play, never materialized into anything. Lucas finished with eight and Thomas had 10.
Friends of Hoop-Seattle 75, King James Shooting Stars 68
There is some pressure for the FOH squad and Isaiah Thomas knew exactly what to do to relieve the stress. He decided it was time to take over.
Friends of Hoop has claimed the last two Main Event titles in Vegas and with guys like Jon Brockman, Martell Webster and Spencer Hawes moving on to bigger and better things, Thomas stepped into the role of hero for the storied program from the Emerald City.
Thomas took over under six minutes, scoring 17 of FOH's 19 last points and fed an assist on the bucket he didn't score. He closed the door and took away any chances that King James may have had to advance to the title game. Thomas finished with 37 points and connected on nine three-pointers. It was vintage Thomas.
King James had opportunities buy bad decisions cost them the game. The only player that made things happen was stud class of 2008 forward Delvon Roe, who finished with 18 points.
Houston Hoops 59, Team STAT 57
The Hoops had the game in the bag. Then the second half started. The Houston club was up by 17 points at one point but Team STAT battled back in the final 16 minutes.
The Hoops were rolling early thanks in large part to the stellar play of Mike Singletary, who finished with 16 points. The 6-foot-5 small forward did it inside, outside and everywhere in between. However, that same intensity died down in the second half.
Gary Johnson was Gary Johnson, playing hard inside and making it difficult to stop him inside the paint. The Texas bound forward finished with 15 points. Isaiah Rusher contributed with eight points.
Team STAT's comeback was anchored by Dominique Jones. The Sunshine State guard is one of the bigger sleepers in the Southeast. The 6-foot-4 scored 25 points in the defeat and showed off a game that could catch on with a high-major program.