2010 USA Men's U18 National Team Thrashes Virgin Islands 131-63
June 26, 2010 - San Antonio, Texas
The USA Basketball Men's U18 National Team (1-0) opened play at the 2010 FIBA Americas U18 Championship by blowing through the U.S. Virgin Islands (0-1) 131-63 on Saturday night in San Antonio, Texas. Quincy Miller's (Quality Education Academy / Winston-Salem, N.C.) double-double of 15 points and 17 rebounds led the USA effort as everyone scored, including nine in double digits.
Miller's rebounds set a new high-water mark for the USA U18 National Team for single-game rebounds at this event, surpassing the previous record of 15 set by Shareef Abdur-Rahim versus Panama in 1994.
Austin Rivers (Winter Park H.S. / Winter Park, Fla.) was the USA's high scorer with 18 points after firing off 4-of-6 from 3-point; Trevor Cooney (Sanford H.S. / Wilmington, Del.) and LeBryan Nash (Lincoln H.S. / Dallas, Texas) tossed in 15 points apiece; Jereme Richmond (Waukegan H.S. / Waukegan, Ill.) scored 13; while Abdul Gaddy (Washington / Tacoma, Wash.), Kyrie Irving (St. Patrick's H.S. / Elizabeth, N.J.), Tony Mitchell (L.G. Pinkston H.S. / Dallas, Texas) and Patric Young (Providence School / Jacksonville, Fla.) chipped in 11 points each.
"I saw some good things," said USA U18 National Team and University of Oklahoma head coach Jeff Capel. "I thought Jereme Richmond played a really, really good overall game. Quincy Miller, with 15 points and 17 rebounds, was good. It was good to see Trevor Cooney hit some shots. Austin (Rivers) obviously can score the basketball. He may be our best scorer. LeBryan Nash got into it, so it was good to see a lot of guys have some success."
The islanders put the first points on the board, a pair of free throws 12 seconds into the contest. But their lead was short-lived. Young got the U.S. going with a powerful put-back at 8:00 and the USA was off and running. Less than two minutes later the lead was 13-2 as six different players produced points in the opening run. By the end of the first 10 minutes of action, the dominating performance on both ends had the U.S. well on the way to the win, 35-8.
"We have a lot of weapons," said Young. "Teams are going to have to pick their poison, because no matter what, we're going to have somebody out there who's going to be able to score. They're not going to be able to stop everybody out there."
At halftime the USA's lead was 62-28, Miller and Rivers already had 11 points apiece and the only question remained to be answered was what the final score would be. At the end of three quarters the USA's lead was up to 95-48, Richmond slammed home a dunk off a pass from Young for the 100th point with 9:20 to play and in the end the final was 131-63.
"It's tough to stay focused, especially with young guys, when you have a lead like we did," added Capel. They scored eight points in the first quarter and then came back and scored 20 in the second. It's difficult to play with that kind of lead, but especially with young guys. They have a tendency to let up, take their foot off the gas. I thought we did a little bit better of a job in the third quarter. I thought our zone in the fourth quarter was really, really good."
The Americans tied a USA Basketball U18 National Team record for 3-pointers made in a single game with 11, which has been done twice before, the last coming in 2008 against Puerto Rico.
Scoring 68 points in the paint, the U.S. got 27 second-chance points and the bench contributed 82. The rebounding was as lopsided as the score with the USA collecting 65 to the islanders' 26.
In today's other Group B contest, Argentina (1-0) downed Mexico (0-1) 78-53; while in Group A, Canada (1-0) downed Uruguay (0-1) 76-52 and Brazil (1-0) blew past Puerto Rico (0-1) in the second half for a 78-53 victory.
Not only is a gold medal at stake, the top four finishing nations will qualify for the 2011 FIBA U19 World Championship. The 2010 FIBA Americas U18 Championship runs through June 30 at Bill Greehey Arena on the St. Mary's University campus. Single-day tickets are $5 and can be purchased at the door.
The U.S. will go up against Mexico on June 27 at 7:00 p.m. (all times listed are local, CDT) and will close preliminary play against South American rivals Argentina on June 28 at 7:00 p.m. The semifinals are slated for June 29, and the finals will be held June 30.
Georgia Tech head coach Paul Hewitt and University at Buffalo head coach Reggie Witherspoon are serving as assistant coaches for the 2010 USA U18 National Team.
Players eligible for this competition must have been born on or after Jan. 1, 1992.