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July 24, 2013

Zanna, Robinson earn spot in championship game

After two upsets on Tuesday night in the 2013 Pittsburgh Basketball Club Pro-Am summer league playoffs at the Greentree SportsPlex, the championship game is set. A pair of Pitt players have a chance to take home the league crown.

The Lair 108, P&W BMW 90

It appeared nothing would stop No. 1 seed P&W BMW on its five-game winning streak entering the playoffs, but the squad ran into a bunch of Dukes.

Duquesne forward Ovie Soko scored 27 points and grabbed 14 rebounds, and his Duke teammate Jerimiah Jones added a game-high 29 points as No. 4 seed The Lair upset top-seeded P&W BMW to reach the summer league championship.

In all, Duquesne players scored 83 of The Lair's 108 points on the night. A pair of incoming freshman Desmond Ridenour and L.G. Gill chipped in 15 and 12 points, respectively.

Though all the Dukes played well it was Soko that really made his mark. The Duquesne forward scored seven of his team's first nine points as the Lair began the night making five of six three-point attempts and opened leads of 18-5 and 29-14. The Lair finished shooting 11 of 22 from beyond the arc and converted 53.2 percent from the entire field all night.

Soko's biggest highlight came toward the end of the game. With The Lair sporting a comfortable 15-point lead, Soko drove the lane on P&W's Andrew Cressler, flew through the air and fully extended his right arm to slam down the contested dunk, easily the top dunk of the summer.

Nolan Cressler led P&W with a 21-point night. Pitt alum Chevron Troutman added a double-double with 19 points and 12 rebounds as Lance Jeter chipped in 12 points and eight assists.

After The Lair opened its 15-point lead in the first half, P&W made a 23-5 run midway through the first half to keep the game close. The score was tied 54-54 at halftime.

However, in the second half, P&W went cold from the field, struggling to find offense. After Cressler and Josh Taylor made a pair of threes, The Lair made 25-5 run to seal a spot in the championship game.

PGT 84, SPK 73

PGT's Talib Zanna won the opening tip directly to Elijah Thompson, who quickly moved to the basket and scored with an authoritative dunk.

It was that kind of night for No. 2 seed SPK.

No. 3 seed PGT took advantage of 19 SPK turnovers and outrebounded its opponent, 42-28, en route to a 84-73 win. It was the second upset of the night as PGT cemented a spot in the summer league championship game.

It was the second time these two teams met in the last six days. SPK stole a one-point win last Wednesday when both James Robinson and Thompson's shots on the last possession didn't fall. Both gained retribution Tuesday as Thompson tallied 18 points and seven rebounds while Robinson added 15 points.

Still, Zanna continued to make his case for league most valuable player. The Pitt forward, who was one rebound short of a double-double at halftime, recorded 31 points - on 12 of 19 shooting - and 17 rebounds. He was most effective in transition, beating defenders down the floor - both with and without the ball in his hands - to score easy buckets.

Even with PGT's big advantage in the stat columns, SPK kept things close midway through the second half. SPK whittled away at a 13-point halftime deficit and pulled with one after a pair of Mike Young free throws, 67-66.

PGT then rattled off 11 straight points to put the game away. It started with a pair of Tyler Warford free throws, followed by an and-one conversion by Zanna. Then after Thompson made another basket, Robinson threw down two straight fast-break dunks to make it a 78-66 PGT lead.

Young followed up his 36-point performance Monday night with 19 points and six boards for SPK Tuesday as fellow Pitt freshman scored a team-high 21 points and 10 rebounds.

Championship game
Wednesday, July 24
Greentree SportsPlex


No. 3 PGT vs. No. 4 The Lair, 7:15 p.m.





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