March 28, 2007
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) -- O.J. Mayo's game-winning 3-point attempt hit the back of the rim in the final seconds Wednesday night, allowing the West to escape with a 114-112 win over the East in the McDonald's All-American Game at Freedom Hall.
Michael Beasley scored 23 points for the West and was named the Most Valuable Player. He will play at Kansas State next year.
But much of the attention, as it has been all season, centered on Mayo, the highly recruited guard who will play at USC next year.
Mayo took awhile to get started, missing six of his seven first-half shots and had to endure chants of "overrated" at times. He collected himself in the second half, finishing with 12 points on a variety of midrange jumpers and shifty drives to the basket.
The West led the entire second half, but had to survive a handful of surges by the East. The East drew within one possession several times in the final minutes, but couldn't quite catch up.
The East trailed by two when it got a steal with 10 seconds left. Mayo came down and pulled up for a 3-pointer from the top of the key but missed. Florida-bound Nick Calathes got the rebound, but his floater was long at the buzzer.
While the crowd seemed to enjoy Mayo's misfortune, it saved its biggest cheers for Jai Lucas and Patrick Patterson, the only two players who remain unsigned. Both have been heavily recruited by Kentucky, and both are still considering the Wildcats even after the departure of coach Tubby Smith. Each finished with eight points.