The last time LaMelo Ball left a game early, Team JBA USA struggled, lost their 18 point lead and took a brutal loss in Lithuania.
Midway through the fourth quarter, LaMelo Ball fouled out with 31 points, 10 assists and six rebounds.
This time around, the entire team stepped up. It took an extra period, but JBA USA held onto a 135-127 overtime victory over CSKA Moscow on Wednesday evening in Moscow, Russia.
It was the first time a US basketball team beat CSKA Moscow on Russian soil in 31 years. The 1987 Atlanta Hawks were the last team to defeat the prestigious program.
With Melo out of the game, someone had to step up and be the floor general. Je’rell Springer took over in the final minutes of the fourth quarter and in overtime. Springer scored 27 points to go with his eight rebounds, while LiAngelo Ball scored 30 points for JBA USA (3-2).
What made this victory more impressive was that two other players fouled out for Team JBA USA who played a big role tonight. Curtis Hollis scored 22 points and led the team with 10 rebounds before fouling out late in the fourth quarter.
Nyang Wek scored 12 points to go with his nine boards before he fouled out in overtime.
Despite all three players fouling out, the team stepped up and filled the voids.
“We just had to stick together as a team and play hard,” Wek said. “We had to leave it all out on the court. It feels really good to beat CSKA Moscow in Russia for the first time in 31 years.
JBA USA got off to a huge start, being up as much as 15 points in the second quarter, but CSKA Moscow came right back and cut the lead to four at halftime thanks to Aleksandr Khomenko’s 31 points and five assists. Khomenko was called down from the senior team to play in this game for CSKA
Danill Singubov had 13 points to go with his six rebounds, while team captain Agasiy Tonoyan added 12 points and six assists. Aleksandr Kurbatov scored 17 points and led CSKA Moscow with 13 rebounds.
CSKA Moscow outrebounded JBA USA 58 to 47, but turned the ball over 19 times compared to the 11 turnovers for JBA USA.
Mikhail Maleyko scored 11 points with nine rebounds, while Maksim Kondakov and Aleksandr Yershov each scored 11 points for CSKA Moscow.
Jordan Ray, who didn’t play in Saturday’s victory over Liepaja, scored nine points off the bench as he filled in for Melo.
JBA USA will now take on Saint Petersburg Zenit in Saint Petersburg, Russia on Sunday. Game time is scheduled at 12:30 pm EST.