Playing their second game in as many days, Portsmouth Partners defeated Cherry Bekeart 107-103 Thursday afternoon in a matchup between Wednesday night’s losers.
Thanks to Xavier Tillman and Kyle Washington — two big men we touched on last night — CB dominated PP on the offensive glass (24-4) and in second chance points (21-5), but it’s 17 shot advantage wasn’t enough to offset PP’s 16 threes and 56.4 percent shooting from the field overall. Kendrick Nunn led the way for PP with a game-high 28 points while Chris Chiozza had 10 assists to only two turnovers.
Hayden Dalton, Elijah Stewart and Darryl Macon each scored 16 points a piece. PP’s big men didn’t play great — Tillman and Washington had a field day inside — but Ben Lammers (eight points) showed flashes offensively and Zach Smith (eight points) made an impact while barely touching the ball.
For CB, Tillman finished with a team-high 25 points (12-18 FGs) and 11 rebounds.
In addition to what we wrote about him yesterday, he showed more offensive skill Thursday, scoring in the post with quick spins and hook shots and hitting a 15-foot jumper as well. Washington (13 rebounds) was also tough to keep off the glass, but he shot just 6-23 from the floor. Still, he was CB’s most vocal player regardless of whether he was in the game or on the bench.
Brandon Goodwin also played well, outplaying Chiozza and continuing to play with good energy on both ends, and Peyton Aldridge bounced back from a so-so showing Wednesday to finish with 23 points (8-15 FGs) and five assists in 31 minutes. He shot 4-8 from three and 3-3 from the line. Since we already wrote about CB’s players yesterday, here’s a look at four of PP’s standouts.
A 6-foot-3 combo guard from Oakland (by way of Illinois), Nunn (pictured_) was one of the top scorers in the country this past season and on Thursday he bested his season scoring average (25.9 ppg) with 28 points on 10-14 shooting. Nunn is a silent assassin on the court with a quick release and good handles which helps him score from all over. Nothing he’s shown this week is new, but it’s good to see him establish himself as one of the most dynamic scoring guards in attendance.
Moving forward, scouts hope to see him facilitate and run pick-and-roll more — most of his production as a senior came off screens or in isolation — and also grow as a defender. He wasn’t tested much on that end Thursday.
Coming into the tournament, Dalton was one of the players we were most looking forward to see and the skilled 6-foot-8 forward showed why Thursday, hitting four pull-up jumpers off the dribble en route to a 16-point, seven-rebound outing. Dalton made 2-6 from three, but more often than not he passed up potential spot-up attempts and looked for his shot a step or two inside the arc. He’s not dynamic off the bounce, but he sells fakes hard and gets defenders off balanced to get clean looks from 17 to 20 feet.
According to Synergy Sports, Dalton only took 38 jumpers off the dribble in college this past season so his ability to attack closeouts is an encouraging development. Dalton’s shot selection at times is questionable and he made some poor passes as well which are things he has to clean up, but the aggressiveness he’s shown offensively is more encouraging than anything else.
He’s been challenged on defense by guards and big men alike, but he’s held on his own on that end of the floor for the most part. One thing that’s been a little disappointing: his shooting. While he’s shot well overall, most of his misses have been way off. His jumper is his ticket into potentially earning a two-way contract next year.
It’s early, but Stewart predictably has been one of the better two-way players in Portsmouth so far. The 6-foot-5 guard from USC has always offered intrigue as a three-and-D prospect and although he’s only shot 5-14 from three through two games, he’s totaled five blocks and two steals thanks to his length, quickness, explosiveness, motor and anticipation skills. He had an impressive steal-and-score in his first game Wednesday and outran everyone else on the court for a transition dunk Thursday.
He struggles to get all the way to the rim and finish at times because he’s not the strongest player or greatest ball handler, but he has enough ability off the bounce to keep teams honest. However, he’s not comfortable in ball screens or isolations. A two-way contract is a possibility.
Like Nunn, Macon is a dynamic 6-foot-3 scoring guard who has already shown scouts he can create his own shot off the dribble. As he looks to take his game to the next level, he’s successfully shown himself as a playmaker for others as well, handing out 16 assists (to only five turnovers) through two games.
Macon is still very much a score-first guard, but he’s tough to contain in high ball screens and can draw the attention of multiple defenders. The ball tends to stick in his hands when he’s running point, but overall he plays the two-man game well. His stepback jumper has been on point so far. He isn’t as smooth or as comfortable changing speeds as Nunn, but he looks a little shiftier in tight spaces.