Bigger building. Bigger floor.
That didn't much matter to Boone basketball standout B.J. Taylor, who made himself right at home in Amway Center and led Team Florida to a 107-99 victory against Team USA in the Florida vs. USA Hardwood Classic on Friday.
Taylor, a 6-foot-2 guard who will play his college basketball for hometown UCF, had 17 points, six assists and four rebounds and kept the Team Florida MVP trophy in Orlando.
"It was awesome. Getting to represent Florida. Getting to showcase your skills in a great venue," Taylor said after walking into the stands to get a hug from his mother. "I think we wanted it a little more."
The win was Florida's second in the seven-year history of the series.
The U.S. team, with senior standouts from eight states, trimmed a 22-point deficit to 95-87 on a dunk by Jakeenan Gant with 5 minutes, 12 seconds remaining. But Taylor snatched a defensive rebound, pushed the ball upcourt and dished an assist to future UCF teammate Adonys Henriquez for a layup.
Taylor, who led the state in scoring with 34.5 points per game in the high-school season, scored on a high-arcing floater and a 17-foot jumper on Florida's next two possessions to push the spread back to double digits.
“We had to stop some of the runs,” Taylor said. “The ball landed in my hands. I had great teammates who kept getting me the ball.”
Terrell Miller, a 6-7, 250-pound forward from Jacksonville Arlington Country Day, led Florida with 21 points and 13 rebounds. He was a late addition to the roster.
Henriquez, the leading scorer for Orlando Christian Prep's Class 2A state-title team, contributed 11 points, three assists and two rebounds.
"The [USA] guys were talking trash, saying they were going to beat us," Henriquez said. "We took that to heart. We played good defense, and we shared the rock."
Team USA lacked the dominant bigs it has had in past years, and Florida took advantage with a strong effort on the boards. It scored 18 first-half points off offensive rebounds and finished with 22 second-chance points.
Justin Gray, a Texas Tech signee from Tampa Berkeley Prep, had 12 points and three rebounds for Team Florida. UCLA signee Gyorgy “G.G.” Goloman of 3A state champion Weston Sagemont added 11 points.
University of Florida signee Devin Robinson, a 6-8 small forward from Virginia, led Team USA with 17 points. Brekkott Chapman, a 6-8 Utah signee from that state, had 16.
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