Going into the quarterfinals as what some would have considered underdogs against Houston Hoops, Team Final pulled off the win 69-63 in one of the most hyped games of the tournament. The trio of Ja'Quan Newton, Malachi Richardson and Mikal Bridges were spectacular in matching up against the three-headed monster consisting of Justise Winslow, Kelly Oubre and Justin Jackson.
Newton went off again for 22 points, 4 assists, 4 steals and 3 rebounds on 7-14 shooting. Richardson, playing a year up, dropped 13 and 6 while 'Nova-commit Bridges - the forgotten man in pregame hype - showed he's probably due for a bump in the next set of rankings with a stat sheet stuffer effort of 13 points, 4 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 blocks and a steal in a team-leading 30 minutes. He also shot 3-5 from deep, proving once again he might be a solution to Villanova's outside shooting woes upon arrival.
The victory meant Team Final would face off against the vaunted CP3 All-Stars who were sporting UNC-bound Theo Pinson, Georgetown-bound LJ Peak and one-time target Shelton Mitchell. Despite holding a halftime lead, Team Final eventually fell 87-82, ending their run at the Peach Jam.
Newton never really got it going with a 10 point, 6 assist effort on 4-12 shooting, but his backcourt mate Shep Garner did, recording his best outing of the tournament with 18 points and 7 assists. Malachi Richardson with 23 points and 5 rebounds on 9-18 shooting, while Bridges was strong yet again with 14 points and 7 rebounds on 5-9 shooting.
The Peach Jam concludes the Nike EYBL season, but there are a few more notable events this summer, starting next week with the Nike Global Challenge. 'Nova target Phil Booth is on the USA East roster.