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July 26, 2012FORT WAYNE - Bryson Scott and Kendall Stephens were roommates at NBA Camp this spring and a year from now at this time, they'll be teammates at Purdue.
But to start the final AAU tournament of their careers, the Boilermaker recruits were adversaries, as Scott's Spiece Indy Heat team met Stephens' Illinois Wolves in 17-and-under super-pool play at the GRBA Nationals at Spiece Fieldhouse.
The result - a 66-63 Spiece win that came down to the last second - was a satisfying one for Scott, still smarting from a disappointing showing at the Peach Jam in South Carolina.
"It was just one of those weeks I didn't have my head in it and just didn't play my game," Scott said.
"I wasn't happy with the Peach Jam at all, so I want to come out here and redeem myself, get back into my attack mode and really go at some guys."
The Northrop star did that in the early going against the Wolves, as Spiece took a lead it held nearly from start to finish. But Scott missed his first four shots, a couple of them being right at the rim, not uncommon for a player so adept at weathering so much contact just to get to the rim that the easiest part can be the hardest part sometimes.
But after drawing a few fouls and burying some free throws, Scott got going, making a three and a pull-up jumper in finishing with 13 points, matching Trevon Bluiett and Tony Wills for team-high honors, while impacting the game all across the board. Unofficially, the guard also had six rebounds, four steals and four assists.
Spiece won despite not having the services of elite forward Trey Lyles.
"(The Wolves) are a really, really good team," Scott said. "They run a lot of really good plays for their shooters and they really hustle. It was a really good win for us, especially with us being short-handed."
The Wolves led for a matter of seconds in the final minute, after Scott's turnover on an in-bound pass produced a lay-up for Stephens and a one-point lead. Bluiett answered with a score, then a pair of free throws. The Wolves did not get a three off in the final seconds, needing one to tie it.
Stephens finished with 15 points, sitting out a few minutes early after a defensive lapse.
"I didn't close out like I should have," Stephens said after his coach, Mike Mullins, pulled him from the game after Bluiett made an early three.
Stephens' points come off three threes, a mid-range jumper, two free throws and the late lay-up.
"I wasn't really looking forward to playing him, but I was looking forward to seeing him and what he can bring to the table," Scott said of his teammate-to-be. "It's exciting because he can really knock down jumpers. He's somebody who if you go to the basket and kick it out, he's going to knock down the shot."
The two exchanged only brief words at halftime during the game, but left the court impressed with the other.
"He has an aggressive mind set and mentality," Stephens said. "He's always pushing the issue. He just has a really competitive nature."
Purdue associate head coach Jack Owens represented the Boilermakers in Fort Wayne Thursday, with assistants from Illinois and Michigan and Iowa head coach Fran McCaffery also present from the Big Ten.
Each Big Ten coach watched Meanstreets' 16-and-under team with forwards Tyler Wideman, Paul White and guard Tyler Ulis, before moving over to the Spiece/Wolves 17s game, with 2014 blue-chipper Keita Bates-Diop playing on the next court over.
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