SALIDA -- Allen Huddleston and Reeves Nelson couldn't have asked for a bigger stage.
A standing-room-only crowd squeezed into the gym at Modesto Christian to watch the two future Division I college players.
The University of Pacific-bound Huddleston and the UCLA-bound Reeves definitely put on a show.
Reeves scored 39 points and 17 rebounds as Modesto Christian survived an 94-89 win over Merced in the first round of the Modesto Christian Holiday Hoops Classic on Friday night.
All Huddleston did was pour in a career high 50 points. The total was five points shy of the tournament record held by current Los Angeles Lakers guard Jordan Farmar.
"The 50 doesn't mean anything because it didn't come in a win," Huddleston said.
"I wanted to win more than scoring 50 points. I would have been happy with 15 points and a win."
Both players had the fans wanting more.
Nelson threw down three rim-rattling dunks and dazzled the crowd with some nifty no-look passes.
Huddleston put on a shooting clinic from just about every spot on the floor.
"It was a great game to watch, but a horrible game to coach," said Modesto Christian coach Gary Porter, whose team improved to 2-2.
"Huddleston had to work hard for his shots. There were two D-I players on the floor.
"They give those D-I scholarships for a reason."
Modesto Christian jumped out to an early 25-14 lead after the first quarter.
Huddleston then caught fire with 16 second-quarter points to pull Merced within 48-41 at the half.
The Merced senior never cooled off.
Huddleston hit four of his eight 3-pointers in the third quarter to pull his team even closer.
"The third quarter is when I knew I had it going," said Huddleston, whose previous career-high was 42 points.
"I hit two threes in a row and I just kept shooting. I guess it was a heat-check and it turned out I was hot."
Huddleston scored five quick points to start the fourth quarter that put Merced ahead 76-74 with 6:58 left in the game.
Meanwhile, Nelson was almost single-handedly fouling out every big man on Merced's roster.
Patrick Franey, Kenny Cooper, Marques Barron and Manny Orozco all took turns guarding Nelson and all fouled out.
Nelson sank 12 of 17 free throws.
More importantly, Merced didn't have anybody to guard the 6-foot-8 monster down the stretch.
"He causes a lot of contact," Merced coach Marcus Knott said. "Say what you want about the officials, but there was a lot of contact down low.
"The way the game was called, it was impossible to stop him because he's so strong. You can't take the ball away from him.
"He's a beast."
Nelson dished off two assists and scored nine points in the fourth quarter to help MC finally put the game away late.
Merced will have a quick turnaround this morning with a 10 a.m. game against Ontario Colony.
"This game was a stepping stone for us," Huddleston said. "He just want to keep going in the right direction.
"We know we can play with one of the best teams in the section."
MODESTO CHRISTIAN 94, MERCED 89
At Modesto Christian
Merced 14 27 30 18 -- 89
Modesto Christian 25 23 25 21 -- 94
MERCED -- Otis Caery 11, Ronnie Dunham 2, Bernard Bolden 11, Reggie Nelson 4, Allen Huddleston 50, Kenny Cooper 6, Manny Orosco 3, Patrick Franey 2. Totals: 33 12-13 89.
MODESTO CHRISTIAN -- Liautaud Prophete 8, Jimmy Escuedero 4, Johnny Hutten 19, Isaiah Burse 6, Marcus Butler 6, Reeves Nelson 39, Raymond Nelson 6, Russell Riner 2. Totals: 32 23-37 94.
3-pointers: Merced 12 (Huddleston 8, Caery 3, Orosco 1), MC 3 (Prophete 1, Hutten 1, Re. Nelson 1); Team Fouls: Merced 28, MC 17; Fouled Out: Cooper (M), Franey (M), Orosco (M), Markus Barron (M).
Records: Merced 4-4; Modesto Christian 2-2.