FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. –- After coming off the bench in the first three games, University of Arkansas freshman forward Michael Sanchez is now starting and helped Reach USA get its first win over the weekend in its exhibition tour of China.
Sanchez is one of nine collegiate players participating in the eight-game tour against professional teams in China. Reach USA is a division of Sports Reach, which is a Christian sports ministry.
The team was 0-1-1 late in the week but lost to Shan Dong Gold in Rhong Chang on Friday, 94-86, and Saturday, 75-73, before getting an 87-76 win in Nan Chung on Sunday.
Sanchez, a 6-8, 231-pounder from Springdale, has started the last two games. In the win, he was 3-of-11 shooting, but had seven points and eight rebounds before fouling out.
In Friday’s loss, he was 6-of-7 shooting, and finished with 12 points and eight rebounds. Xavier Silas, a 6-5 forward from Northern Illinois, led the team with 19 points and nine rebounds.
In Saturday’s game, which was Sanchez’s first start of the tour, he suffered a bloody nose and had to leave the game with six points, eight rebounds and three blocked shots while making 2-of-6 shots. Demetri McCamey, a 6-3 guard from Illinois, led the team with 14 points and 12 rebounds.
In Sunday’s victory, Reach USA trailed by 11 in the third quarter but tied the game with 8:37 remaining before pulling away. Vanderbilt guard Jermaine Beal led the team with 18 points.
Through five games, Sanchez has made 19-of-34 shots (.559), and is averaging 8.2 points and 7.0 rebounds with three steals and three blocked shots. He’s had eight or more rebounds four times.
Reach USA is 1-3-1 with three games to play. In the first two games, Sanchez had 10 points and nine rebounds in a 68-67 loss to Shan Dong Gold, and six points and two rebounds in a 78-78 tie with Shan Dong.