- David Auguste, ESPN NFL
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SPRINGFIELD, Mass. -- Shabazz Muhammad began his scoring barrage against No. 5 DeMatha (Hyattsville, Md.) with a dunk just moments after the opening tip. He put the game away in the same manner with a ferocious fourth-quarter jam. In between, the Bishop Gorman (Las Vegas, Nev.) forward was equally brilliant, torching the Stags for 37 points and six boards in a 73-65 upset at the Spalding Hoophall Classic on Monday.
“We were playing Superman, and I guess we didn’t have enough kryptonite,” said DeMatha head coach Mike Jones.
A slew of high-profile college coaches, including front-row spectators Mike Krzyzewski and John Calipari, witnessed Muhammad go to work. The nation's No. 1 senior recruit scored in a variety of ways and electrified Blake Arena with a series of dunks. Senior forward Rosco Allen did his part, chipping in 18 points and nine boards as the 24th-ranked Gaels (13-3) avenged last year’s loss to DeMatha by scoring a victory that will surely shake up the POWERADE FAB 50.
“I definitely wanted to make an impact, because I knew they would devote a lot of attention to Shabazz,” said Allen, a Stanford signee. “We lost to them last year at Les Schwab, so it’s sweet winning this little rematch.”
Gorman’s length was evident on defense, as the Gaels forced several turnovers early and stormed to a 12-2 advantage in the first quarter. Muhammad’s 19 first-half points paced the squad to a 33-25 edge at the intermission.
“We talked about making them make tough shots,“ said Gorman coach Grant Rice. “We made it tough on them all night. I think we’re as deep and long as anyone in the country. I think that’s always going to cause some problems.”
DeMatha chipped away at the lead in the third quarter behind senior Marcellous Bell (12 points, 4-of-9 shooting from 3-point range) and junior Jairus Lyles (team-high 17 points). The Stags pulled within two early in the fourth, but Muhammad eventually put the game away with a scintillating windmill flush just feet from Coach K.
For DeMatha (15-1), the loss was the team's first of the season and its second straight on national television at Hoophall after losing to St. Anthony (Jersey City, N.J.) last year. Again, a slow start forced the Stags to play catch-up the rest of the way, while foul trouble limited frontcourt standouts junior BeeJay Anya and senior Jerami Grant to a combined 16 points.
“Every time we scored we thought we were going to get over the hump,” Jones said. “I like the way our team kept fighting, kept fighting. But it wasn’t enough.”
Not with Muhammad on the prowl. It was a signature game for one of the nation's most popular players, who is deciding between Duke, Kansas, Kentucky, Arizona, USC, UCLA and UNLV. But it was more than just a one-man show.
“When we needed a big bucket," Rice said, "the guys came through.”