MANHATTAN, Kan. – Kansas State junior Rodney McGruder hit the game-winning shot to help the East Coast All-Stars to a 78-77 win over the Sweden National team on Friday in the first round of the Four Nations Cup before 3,720 in Tallinn, Estonia.
McGruder rebounded a miss from Syracuse’s Brandon Triche from the left baseline and laid it up as the horn sounded, helping the All-Stars overcome a 15-point fourth-quarter deficit. He was one of three players in double figures, trailing just Triche’s game-high 17 points, while he added four rebounds and three steals.
The All-Stars led 21-19 after one quarter but the hot-shooting Swedes took over in the second, posting a 38-32 advantage at the half before stretching it to 63-51 after three quarters. The lead ballooned to 15 points with three minutes remaining in the fourth quarter before a fierce rally by the All-Stars.
A stiflingly defense caused back-to-back turnovers, cutting the lead to 11 points, before another pair of Swedish miscues led to consecutive 3-pointers by Iowa’s Matt Gatens and Purdue’s Anthony Johnson. After Sweden extended the lead to seven points , Triche took advantage of three more turnovers to score seven points in just 19 seconds, first tying the game at 74-all, then giving the All-Stars a 76-74 lead on a pair of free throws. Sweden’s Anton Gaddefor hit a long 3-pointer with just six seconds remaining to take its last lead at 77-76.
After a timeout, the final shot was to go to Triche, who missed a jumper from the foul line. McGruder raced in from the corner to grab the rebound and put it up off the glass just as the horn sounded.
This was not the first time McGruder has been associated with a game-winning shot. He was thought to have hit the 3-pointer to knock off Colorado on Feb. 12 at the Coors Events Center before it was ruled to have come mere seconds after the final buzzer. The Wildcats lost the game, 58-56.
The East Coast All-Stars return to action tomorrow morning when they face the Georgia National Team led by NBA star Zaza Pachulia at 10:30 a.m. CST.
More information about the East Coast All-Stars tour of Estonia our can be found at http://www.guyrancourt.com/eastcoast.htm.