ARLINGTON, Texas — Mark Turgeon only had a few hours with his collection of All-Stars in a pair of practices split over two days, so he decided to keep it simple.
Throw it to the big guys and let them work down low.
Jerrelle Benimon and Dwayne Evans wound up scoring 15 points apiece, and Turgeon’s East squad rolled over a West team coached by Johnny Dawkins, 87-75 on Friday in the annual All-Star game presented by the National Association of Basketball Coaches.
"They practiced hard, we kept it real simple, and we just said, ‘Have fun, play together and compete on defense,’" said Turgeon, the coach of Maryland. "Our big guys were really smart basketball players and they did a great job."
After the game, Turgeon and Dawkins shook hands on the raised floor. The last time the Final Four was played in the Dallas area, in 1986, Turgeon was a member of Kansas and Dawkins was playing for Duke, and the Blue Devils beat the Jayhawks in the semifinals.
"It was fun to see him again," Turgeon said.
Will Sheehey of Indiana added 13 points and Karvel Anderson of Robert Morris had 12 for the East team, which led by more than 20 in the second half before coasting down the stretch.
Davion Berry of Weber State had 15 points to lead the West.
The game was played on the same floor inside AT&T Stadium where Kentucky will play Wisconsin and Florida will face Connecticut in the national semifinals on Saturday night.
"It’s been great, getting to know these guys," said Georgetown’s Markel Brown, a member of the East team. "This is my first time in Texas ever, so this is big. Had a lot of fun."
Like most of the All-Star games played in domes, including last year’s at the Georgia Dome, it took both teams a while to get on track shooting against the backdrop of thousands of empty seats. The West team shot just 25.6 percent (10 of 39) in the first half.
That lousy performance was a big reason why the East squad was able to build a lead.
Evans had nine points on 4-for-4 shooting, and Sheehey had seven points as Turgeon’s team slowly established a 37-28 halftime lead.
Dawkins’ West team nipped into its deficit out of halftime when Berry hit a 3-pointer. But it didn’t take long for his team’s cold shooting to return, and the East quickly built on its lead.
Benimon, a 6-foot-8 forward from Towson, did most of the work.
He answered the opening salvo from the West with a driving layup. He converted a three-point play a couple minutes later, dropped in a putback off a miss by Halil Kanacevic, and then added another layup that gave the orange-clad East team a 48-36 lead.
The lead eventually stretched to 20 points later in the half, and both teams began clowning around in the closing minutes, hoisting up long 3-pointers and trying circus-like dunks.
"We had guys that really gelled together," Evans said. "It was easy-going out there, and guys were ready to compete. Three days, after a couple practices, you get to know each other pretty well, and we all had fun out there."