Team McLendon Edges Team Gaines in 2022 HBCU All-Star Game; Tajh Green Named MVP

Adam WellsApril 3, 2022

NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA - APRIL 03: Trey Deloach #2 of the John McLendon team shoots against Lenell Henry #0 of the of the Clarence Gains team during the first half at the UNO Lakefront Arena on April 03, 2022 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images)
Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images

Team McLendon won the first-ever HBCU All-Star Game with a 79-75 win over Team Gaines on Sunday in New Orleans.

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Team McLendon is the inaugural <a href="https://twitter.com/HBCUAllStarGame?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@HBCUAllStarGame</a> champion πŸ† <a href="https://t.co/QUL4gzsX5A">pic.twitter.com/QUL4gzsX5A</a>

Tajh Green from Benedict College was named MVP of the game. He finished with 12 points and seven rebounds in the win.

A total of 24 players from HBCU schools across the country were invited to take part in Sunday's contest.

As part of an increased effort by the NCAA to give players from HBCU schools national exposure, as well as showcase prospects for NBA teams in the same city as the Final Four and national championship game for the 2022 NCAA men's basketball tournament, the All-Star Game was held at the UNO Lakefront Arena.

Robert Jones, Team McLendon head coach, told CBS Sports' AJ Ross after the game he hopes to see this event get bigger going forward:

CBS Sports @CBSSports

"These guys would never have been seen to the rest of the world if it weren't for this platform. ... I hope the [event] just gets bigger and bigger."<br><br>β€”Team McLendon head coach Robert Jones <a href="https://twitter.com/HBCUAllStarGame?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@HBCUAllStarGame</a> <a href="https://t.co/RqZpE95B31">pic.twitter.com/RqZpE95B31</a>

Both teams struggled to find their footing out of the gate. They shot under 40 percent in the first half. Team McLendon held a 37-36 advantage over Team Gaines at the break.

Najee Garvin (Hampton) and Jawaun Daniels (Prairie View A&M) got things started by trading dunks early in the first half.

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"Garvin all alone, dunks it home!" πŸ’₯ <a href="https://twitter.com/HBCUAllStarGame?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@HBCUAllStarGame</a> <a href="https://t.co/4mFlOKR4F3">pic.twitter.com/4mFlOKR4F3</a>

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Jawaun Daniels with the rim rocker 😀 <a href="https://twitter.com/HBCUAllStarGame?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@HBCUAllStarGame</a> <a href="https://t.co/UAYz2H2wkR">pic.twitter.com/UAYz2H2wkR</a>

Team Gaines did close the first half on a 5-0 run thanks to a layup by Navar Elmore (Livingstone) and three-pointer by Jalen Seegars (Fayetteville State) to close the gap to one point.

CBS Sports CBB @CBSSportsCBB

That's a 5⃣-0 run for Team Gaines and it's a ONE POINT GAME πŸ‘€ <a href="https://t.co/eQcKYrCVVY">pic.twitter.com/eQcKYrCVVY</a>

Randall Brumant (Howard) led Team McLendon in scoring with eight first-half points.

Seegars, the Sam Jones Division II National Player of the Year this season, was terrific in the game. He put his shooting skills on display with that play after showing off his Eurostep earlier in the first half to get an and-1:

CBS Sports CBB @CBSSportsCBB

That Eurostep tho πŸ’ͺ <a href="https://twitter.com/HBCUAllStarGame?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@HBCUAllStarGame</a> <a href="https://t.co/x84B4f8iDN">pic.twitter.com/x84B4f8iDN</a>

One reason there wasn't a lot of scoring in the first half was because this was a rare All-Star Game where defense was being played.

CBS Sports CBB @CBSSportsCBB

"How 'bout that? Talk about get up!" πŸ’ͺ <a href="https://twitter.com/HBCUAllStarGame?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@HBCUAllStarGame</a> <a href="https://t.co/DylfSNjEFf">pic.twitter.com/DylfSNjEFf</a>

The second half looked like it was going to be more of the same. The two teams were trading buckets for the first seven minutes, capped off with Prince Moss' (Grambling State) alley-oop slam that tied the game at 47.

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OH MY GOODNESS, PRINCE MOSS 😱😱😱 <a href="https://twitter.com/HBCUAllStarGame?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@HBCUAllStarGame</a> <a href="https://t.co/6qtoysR3F1">pic.twitter.com/6qtoysR3F1</a>

From that point on, though, Team McLendon went on a 10-3 run to get a little bit of breathing room.

Team Gaines kept clawing their way back when it seemed like things were going to start getting out of hand. They trailed 71-69 with 2:30 left to play in regulation when Daniels made a layup on a fast break after a block on the other end of the court.

CBS Sports CBB @CBSSportsCBB

"Here comes Team Clarence 'Big House' Gaines!" <br><br>The inaugural <a href="https://twitter.com/HBCUAllStarGame?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@HBCUAllStarGame</a> is a two-point game. <a href="https://t.co/MmutaC61PT">pic.twitter.com/MmutaC61PT</a>

Team McLendon responded by scoring four straight points out of a timeout to get the lead back up to six.

After two buckets by Team Gaines, Team McLendon turned the ball over to give the Gaines squad a chance to tie the game with just under one minute remaining. They were on a fast break when Javonte Cooke (Winston-Salem State) was called for a charge when he ran over Garvin trying to get to the basket for a layup.

Kameron Langley (North Carolina A&T) made two free throws to put Team McLendon up 79-75. Team Gaines' last-second three-pointer to keep hope alive was an air ball, and time ran out on the comeback attempt.