Nichols, Ruoff Conclude Jones Cup Play

Nichols, Ruoff Conclude Jones Cup Play

WVU's Alex Ruoff and Darris Nichols finished play in the Jones Cup as their Athletes In Action U.S. team dropped a 91-74 decision to Iran.

The U.S. completed the tournament with a 5-4 record and finished tied for third place. Jordan took home the championship trophy with a tournament record of 7-2.

Nichols scored three points and had three assists and four rebounds in 22 minutes of play, while Ruoff had six points, six assists, two rebounds and a block in 20 minutes. He also suffered four turnovers.

The tournament, which consisted of nine games in nine days, obviously took its toll on a U.S. team that had just a week to prepare and get in game condition for the tournament. The U.S. was outscored by 14 points in the fourth quarter and made just nine of its 29 three-pooint attempts.

For a second consecutive night, the accuracy of its opponent's 3-point shooting was the difference. Iran made 14-of-28 (50 percent) of its attempts.

The U.S. won the battle of the boards, 41-39, but was unable to overcome a sub par shooting night, making just 39 percent of its field goal attempts. Iran connected on almost 46 percent of its shots.

The U.S. jumped out to a 14-point lead before Iran countered with an 11-0 spurt to pull within three, 42-39. The U.S. lead at halftime, 46-41.

Iran opened the second half with a 10-2 run to take the lead away from the U.S. less than three minutes into the half. Zach Gibson (Grand Blanc, Mich./Michigan) scored the opening basket of the half before Iran scored 10 unanswered.

After three consecutive threes from the Iranians, the U.S. faced a seven-point deficit which was cut to three at the end of the quarter.

Iran continued to use its inside-outside balance to extend its lead at the start of the fourth, out-scoring the U.S. 10-2 in the first two minutes for an 11-point lead. Iran raised its lead to 13 with 2:54 remaining on its third 3 of the quarter.

AIA cut the lead to seven, but didn't get any closer as the veteran Iranians answered every U.S. threat.

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