Tennessee incoming freshman Derek Reese scored 22 points and grabbed 17 rebounds Friday as his Puerto Rican U19 team lost to Lithuania, 83-79, at the 2012 Nike Global Challenge in Alexandria, Va.
Friday’s game – which opened the eight-team event – took place at Alexandria’s Episcopal High School. Reese started for Puerto Rico and posted game highs in scoring and rebounding. He also paced all players with his 33 minutes played.
The Orlando, Fla., native shot 7-of-16 from field and was a perfect 6-for-6 at the free-throw line. He also had a pair of steals in the losing effort.
“It was a good experience playing against international talent for the first time,” Reese said. “I had a lot of fun.”
Lithuania’s largest lead was 17 points with 6:10 remaining in the fourth quarter, but the Puerto Ricans managed to close the gap in the closing minutes. Puerto Rico shot 41 percent overall, but the Lithuanians shot 46 percent and finished with a slight 45-43 rebounding edge.
“Lithuania shot really well from [3-point range],” Reese said. “They also got a lot of offensive rebounds and got a big rebound when we needed a stop on defense.”
The Nike Global Challenge continues Saturday, with Puerto Rico facing the USA Midwest squad at 4 p.m. (there are three different U.S. teams in the event).
Reese is eligible to compete on the Puerto Rican national team because his grandmother, Irma Montanez, was born in Puerto Rico.