Cooper Flagg and the East team edge Ace Bailey and the West in the 2024 McDonald's All American Game

HOUSTON — The top 24 high school seniors squared off in the McDonald's All American Game on Tuesday night at the Toyota Center, home of the Houston Rockets. It was a battle of No. 1 in the country versus No. 2, with the East's Cooper Flagg facing off against Ace Bailey for the first time in 5-on-5 game action.

During the closed scrimmage Sunday night, Liam McNeeley hit a game-winning 3-pointer as the East topped the West. Both teams were evenly matched, and it was the East once again securing the close win Tuesday night, 88-86.

"We came out here to compete and it was more than just an all-star game for all of us," Kentucky commit Boogie Fland said after the game. "The thing about this class is that we compete and we weren't just coming out here to put on a show and that we're the real deal. We have talent in this class."

The West got off to a hot start and led by seven points at halftime, but Fland and Ian Jackson (North Carolina) led the charge for the East in the second half. The guards combined for 38 points and really set the tone for the East in the second half by pushing the ball and attacking the rim. The East's Derik Queen (Maryland) led all players with 23 points and added five assists. Queen and the West's Dylan Harper (Rutgers) were named co-MVPs, with Harper finishing with 22 points and five assists for the East.

"From Day 1 of practice, we just really emphasized playing hard all the time no matter what," Harper said. "There are 100 NBA scouts here and our future is on the line, so we all came out with competitive mindsets and competed the entire game."

It was a tied game with 1:03 left in the 4th quarter after Tre Johnson (Texas) hit a long 3-pointer for the West. Fland quickly responded, driving in the lane and finishing at the rim to go up by two points to secure the win.

"Playing against these guys in this class makes me a better player, makes all of us better," Fland said. "There's so much talent in our class, and it's always a good game every time we hit the court."

On paper, Flagg had a quiet night with eight points, six rebounds and three assists, but he impacted the game in a variety of ways by extending the defense on the perimeter and making good reads when his teammates were cutting.

This was one of the first times Rutgers fans got a chance to see their two incoming star players in action together, with Harper and Bailey playing for the West team. Like Flagg, Bailey had a quiet night with six points, five rebounds and two assists in the loss.

"Every chance I get to team up with him before college is a blessing, honestly," Harper said of playing with Bailey. "Just to see what he likes to do on the court and where he likes the ball. College is going to be something scary. I don't think other teams really want to see us in college."

The McDonald's All American Game is the first all-star game for the top players in this senior class and many will be in Indianapolis on Thursday for the Chipotle Nationals. The projected one-and-done talent in this class is shaping up to be much better than the upcoming 2024 NBA Draft class, and NBA scouts will have two more opportunities to see the top players in the senior class hit the court in the coming weeks during the Nike Hoop Summit and Jordan Brand Classic.

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