Russia U18 Team Rallies For 95-82 Exhibition Win Over USA Men's U17 Squad
-- Brad Beal Finishes With 29 Points And 10 Rebounds In Losing Effort --
June 27 , 2010 - Kaunas, Lithuania
Despite an impressive 29 point and 10 rebound double-double from Brad Beal (Chaminade College Prep H.S. / St. Louis, Mo.), the USA men's U17 team fell 95-82 to the Russian U18 Team in an exhibition contest Sunday night at Kaunas Sports Hall in Kaunas, Lithuania. Russia was led to the win with a balanced scoring effort that saw six players score in double digits.
Beal finished with 29 points (9-18 FGs, 5-9 3pt FGs, 6-6 FTs) and added 10 rebounds in 34 minutes of action to pace the USA effort. Quinn Cook (DeMatha H.S. / Bowie, Md.) accounted for 16 points, four rebounds and four assists before fouling out, and Teague (Pike H.S. / Indianapolis, Ind.) added 12 points and three assists.
"We were playing a team that is U18, so it's a pretty veteran team we lost to. Some of the things that really stuck out were our inside play, we certainly didn't make many baskets inside. I thought our guard play was pretty good, we just have to bring those two together. When you miss some shots then all of a sudden your defense isn't quite as intense as it would be if you made some shots. I think the positive thing is these things can be fixed. Be played a good team and now we have to bounce back and reorganize a little bit and go from there," said USA U17 World Championship Team and Mid-Prairie High School (Iowa) head coach Don Showalter.
"Brad (Beal) obviously played really well, shot the ball well. But when he's our leading rebounder then we're hurting because we don't want our guards to be our leading rebounder, we've got to have our leading rebounder come from our bigs. Brad looked like he certainly remembered how international ball was played and spotted up very well and hit some big shots for us," added the USA mentor.
The friendly was a close contest throughout and after one quarter the U.S. led 21-18 thanks to nine points from Beal. With Beal fueling the USA offense and accounting for 20 points over the course of the game's first two quarters, the Americans held a one point, 47-46, advantage at halftime despite owning an 11 point lead, 33-22, with 5:55 left before halftime.
"I was real confident after I knocked one (shot) down and I was really in the rhythm and my teammates kept telling me to keep shooting and that's what I kept doing and I just kept knocking them down," Beal said. "The bigs get so beat up so much that the guards really have to help out a lot. Coach Herm (Assistant Herman Harried) told us â€˜don't leak out, don't leak out, just come back and rebound' and that's what I was doing."
The third period see-sawed back and forth and Russia slipped ahead 63-57 with 5:01 left in the quarter following a 3-pointer by guard Aleksandr Varnakov. The U. S. roared back and following consecutive baskets from Cook and Tony Parker (Miller Grove H.S. / Lithonia, Ga.), and then a 3-pointer from Cook, the USA had regained the lead 64-63 with 2:52 left in the third. That would be the USA's last lead of the evening as Russia finished off the third quarter with five straight points to take control 68-64 heading into the game's final 10 minutes.
Russia outscored the USA 9-2 over the fourth quarter's first 3:18 to take an 11 point lead, 77-66. The U.S. cut the deficit to 83-77 with 3:23 to play after Cook nailed a three and Beal converted off a fast break. But the American could get no closer as Russia hit six-of-eight tries from the charity line in the final minute to cap the 95-82 win.
"We stopped playing hard. We were up by 11 with 5 minutes left (in the second quarter) and we let them back in the game. We just didn't play at times with a lot of energy," remarked Beal. "They made shots and we were missing easy layups, points we should be dunking. But we just didn't play hard enough in the second half at all. At least we get a chance to bounce back Tuesday (versus Lithuania) and be ready to play."
Neither squad managed to shoot over 40 percent from the field (USA-36.3%, Russia-38.4%) and Russia outrebounded the USA 53-43, and snagged 20 offensive boards. The U.S. was also whistled for 31 fouls that resulted in Russia going to the line 35 times where 30 points were accounted for, while the U.S. was 17-of-25 from the foul line.
"It's an exhibition game and a tough exhibition game. When you bring together as talented players as we have sometimes they forget that things don't come quite as easy as they are use to having it come. I think we got a nice awakening to that fact, and we're going to have to continue to work hard in order to improve and play well," said Showalter.
The USA U17 Team continues its preparations for the 2010 FIBA U17 World Championship with a pair of practices Monday, and then plays a second and final exhibition game against the Lithuania U17 team on Tuesday, June 29 in Kaunas.
Serving as assistant coaches for the 2009-10 USA Developmental National Team and 2010 USA U17 World Championship Team are Herman Harried, head coach at Lake Clifton High School (Md.), and Kevin Sutton, head coach at Montverde Academy (Fla.).
The 2010 FIBA U17 World Championship for Men is being held July 2-11 in Hamburg, Germany. Opening U17 World Championship play in a rematch of last year's FIBA Americas U16 Championship gold medal contest against Argentina on July 2, the U.S. will face Lithuania on July 3, then continue preliminary round action against China on July 5, Egypt on July 6 and close the opening round against Serbia on July 7. The top four finishing teams from each preliminary round group will advance to the July 9 medal quarterfinals, the semifinals are slated for July 10 and the gold and bronze medal games will be contested on July 11.