Even with their impressive international swingman sitting out to rest and their other sophomore halfway across the globe to support his native country in the World Cup title game, the Wine & Gold just kept winning in Vegas.
With Cedi Osman and Ante Zizic out, the Cavaliers relied on their point guards – Collin Sexton and Scoochie Smith – and both came through with flying colors, notching 17 points apiece as Cleveland improved to 4-1 in Summer League play with the, 92-87, win on Saturday afternoon at the Thomas & Mack Center.
Sexton, the 8th overall pick in this past June’s Draft, has improved as the invitational has progressed. The Young Bull came into Saturday’s affair averaging 18.8 points per and showed no signs of slowing down as tournament play began against Houston.
In his fifth game, the 19-year-old Atlanta native notched 15 of his 17 points before intermission – going 5-of-17 from the floor to go with six boards, three assists and a pair of steals. As he struggled in the second half, Canton’s incumbent starting point guard took over.
Scoochie Smith – the only three-time captain in Dayton basketball history – scored all 17 of his points off the bench – taking control of the game down the stretch and going 6-of-12 from the floor overall, including 3-of-5 from beyond the arc and 2-of-3 from the stripe, adding three assists in the win.
Saturday’s contest was nip-and-tuck throughout.
The Cavaliers led through almost the entire first stanza, opening up a double-digit lead late in the second quarter. But the third belonged to Danuel House and the Rockets. Cleveland regained the lead on a Scoochie Smith floater and never gave it back – warding off Houston’s closing salvo in the game’s final minutes.
The Cavaliers featured five players in double-figures, including recent two-way signee Billy Preston, who struggled from the floor while he continues to shake off the rust – finishing with 12 points on 4-for-14 shooting, adding six boards and an assist.
With Osman and Zizic sitting out, Jamel Artis had his best game of Summer League play – finishing with 13 points on 5-of-8 shooting, including 2-of-4 from long-range. Artis, a four-year man from Pitt who appeared in 15 games with Orlando last season, also led the Wine & Gold with nine boards.
Dakota Mathias shot the ball well again – adding 10 points on 3-of-4 shooting from the floor, 2-of-3 from beyond the arc. Marcus Lee, getting the start in the middle, had another solid showing – finishing with eight points on 4-of-8 shooting.
Danuel House, who spent last season on a two-way contract with the Suns, led everyone on Saturday afternoon – finishing with 30 points on 10-for-20 shooting. Impressive rookie De’Anthony Melton doubled-up for Houston with 16 points and a game-high 10 boards.
With the victory, the Wine & Gold improved to 4-1 in Summer League play and advance to the quarterfinal round.