May 18, 2013 8:15 AM by UL Sports Information
Payton's 22 Points Helps Reach USA Improve To 3-0-1
SHIZHU, China - Elfrid Payton scored a game-high 22 points and added eight assists as Reach USA improved to 3-0-1 with an 84-77 win over Athletas de Lithuania on Friday night.
This was the fourth straight day that Reach USA has played an exhibition game against the team from Lithuania. They will play again tomorrow before Reach USA parts ways and plays several games against Chinese teams next week.
The game had a similar pattern as the first three as Lithuania had a 10-point lead in the second half before Reach USA rallied. The Lithuanians had leads of 16 points or more in each of the first three meetings.
Western Kentucky's T.J. Price added 18 points while Kansas State's D.J. Johnson chipped in with 13 points and 14 rebounds.
On Friday, Reach USA came out strong for the first time during the tour and opened up a 10-point advantage early in the first half before the Lithuanians came back to lead by four at the break. Lithuania surged early in the second half, building a 10-point lead, but was unable to sustain it as Reach USA closed to within one at the end of the third quarter and pulled away in the final stanza.
Payton continued his steady play, leading Reach USA in scoring for the third time. He was nine-for-16 from the field and made all four free throws. He is now averaging 21.5 points, 6.3 rebounds, 6.3 assists and 2.5 steals a game, shooting .545 from the field (36-66) and .737 from the line (14-19).
"We rode to Chongqing Shi today," Payton said. "It was pretty much a relaxed day until the game. It rained for most of the day.
Chongqing is one of the five national central cities in China, having a population of over 28 million.
"The best part about today was the food. We had steak and pasta, which was a lot like we'd see in Lafayette," Payton added.