Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Fast-Break Game Decided by Free Throws; East Wins ABA All-Star Game in Front of 4,488 at the Arena

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Fast-Break Game Decided by Free Throws; East Wins ABA All-Star Game in Front of 4,488 at the Arena

Article excerpt

Byline: JEFF ELLIOTT

It took three hours to complete the first American Basketball Association All-Star Game held in Jacksonville, and it still came down to the final second to decide the outcome.

West guard Devon Pearson (North Dallas Vandals) missed his first free-throw attempt and surprisingly made the second one with one second remaining, leaving the visiting West team a point short as the all stars from the East team prevailed by a 123-122 score Saturday afternoon in front of an enthusiastic announced crowd of 4,488 at Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena.

The game featured the 12 top players from teams west of the Mississippi River against a dozen players from ABA teams from the East.

The latter group included the Jacksonville Giants, who were represented by center Jermaine Bell and Ed "Hollywood" Horton.

Like any typical all-star game, individual play trumped the team concept. A 24-second clock was used, but it seldom went under 10 as the first player who took a pass once the ball came over halfcourt would often either attempt to drive on his man or pull up and go for a 3-point basket.

Long-range shooting in the game was not all-star worthy. The West team managed 11-of-29 shots from 3-point range for 37.9 percent, and the East team needed 40 attempts from beyond the arc to make nine baskets, a meager 22.5 percent.

But the East got its most important 3-pointer when it needed it the most. Kayode Ayeni (Jersey Express) drilled one from 24 feet out with 45 seconds left to forge a 120-120 tie.

The West missed a chance to regain the lead and the East's Anthony Jackson (Columbus Riverballers) was fouled seconds later. He converted a pair of free throws with 22 seconds left to push the East in front 122-120. West guard Rich Williams (San Diego Sol) was fouled with six seconds left but missed a chance to tie the game by making just 1 of 2.

Ayeni duplicated that with four seconds left in the game to push the East back to a two-point lead, but Pearson missed a chance to send the game to overtime when he clanked the first attempt off the back of the rim.

"I didn't have to do much coaching in that first half as a lot of guys were out there exposing their talent," said East and Jacksonville Giants coach Kevin Waters. …

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