ATLANTA, Feb. 8 (Ticker) -- Gilbert Arenas
gave teammate Jason Richardson
a record but took MVP honors for himself.
Arenas scored 23 of his 30 points in the second half to lead a comeback and give the Sophomores a 132-112 victory over the
Rookies in the got milk? Rookie Challenge at Philips Arena.
Second-year guards on the young and improving Golden State Warriors, Arenas and Richardson dominated the opening event of
All-Star Saturday. They combined for 42 points in the second half as the Sophomores erased a 12-point halftime deficit.
Arenas, who did not play in this game as a rookie, made five of his six three-pointers in the second half. He sank three in a 90-second span that gave the Sophomores a 119-107 lead with three minutes to go.
Richardson, who won MVP honors in last year's game, scored 31 points, tying Kobe Bryant's 1997 Rookie Game record. The 2002
Slam Dunk champion spent most of the first half warming up for this year's contest, then fired away from outside in the second half.
As the clock wound down, both Arenas and Richardson had a chance to break or tie the record. Arenas passed to Richardson, who buried his fourth three-pointer.
Arenas became the first MVP of this game not selected in the first round of the draft. He was a 2001 second-round pick of
the Warriors, who also placed second-year forward Troy Murphy in this game.
Richard Jefferson of the New Jersey Nets scored 21 points and Pau Gasol of the Memphis Grizzlies added 17 for the Sophomores, who set a scoring record for the nine-year series and evened the current format at 2-2.
Caron Butler of the Miami Heat scored 23 points and Amare Stoudemire of the Phoenix Suns added 18 for the Rookies, who led by as many as 15 points early in the second half but succumbed to a 28-12 closing surge by the Sophomores.
"We took them light. They had something to prove," Richardson said. "We came out at halftime and we knew we had to play
Three three-pointers and a three-point play by Richardson pulled the Sophomores within 80-79 with 14:33 to play. He sat down for a spell, but Arenas took over, scoring while running the offense.
"My mind-set was that I was going to take over the game," Arenas said.
Consecutive three-pointers by Arenas gave the Sophomores the lead for good at 92-90 with 10:58 left. After his second flurry of three-pointers made it a double-digit game, Richardson added seven points in the final 74 seconds.
The first half featured 26 dunks, 14 by the Sophomores, and 35 turnovers, 20 by the Sophomores. However, the Rookies committed no fouls in a breakneck pace and opened a 72-57 lead behind 14 points from Butler and 12 by Stoudemire.
"It was a dream come true," Butler said. "I'm just trying to grasp it and take it all in. I had a ball out there."
Utah's Andrei Kirilenko scored 13 points and Indiana's Jamaal Tinsley handed out 11 assists for the Sophomores, who shot 58 percent (58-of-100) from the field and scored 86 points in the paint.
Drew Gooden of Memphis scored 16 points and Grizzlies teammate Gordan Giricek added 13 for the Rookies, who shot 48.5 percent (50-of-103) and had 74 points in the paint.