USA Men Take Down France 71-55, Improve To 2-0
Gordon Hayward finished with 11 points and five rebounds in the USA's win over France.
NORTH SHORE, New Zealand (July 3, 2009) --Relying on a defensive effort that limited France to 55 points, the USA Men's U19 World Championship Team (2-0) led from start to finish and posted an impressive 71-55 victory over France (1-1) Friday morning. The USA men will conclude preliminary play on July 4 facing Egypt in an 11 a.m. (Auckland, New Zealand local time) game.
The win assured the U.S. of advancing into the July 6-8 Second Round. A victory versus Egypt Saturday would insure the United States of the Group B No. 1 seed for the second round.
Seth Curry (Duke / Charlotte, N.C.) paced the USA's scoring in the win with 12 points, Gordon Hayward (Butler / Brownsburg, Ind.) added 11 points, Ashton Gibbs (Pittsburgh / Scotch Plains, N.J.) chipped in 10, and Terrico White (Mississippi / Memphis, Tenn.) was credited with nine points.
-It was a pretty decisive win, but I thought we could have played better. They're good, they're athletic, we couldn't dominate them inside and we knew that going into it so that was a little different for us. We needed to shoot the ball well and we didn't. But I think our defense was pretty good and that was really the margin of victory," said USA head mentor Jamie Dixon.
The USA sprinted from the opening tip, forcing France into three quick turnovers while scoring the game's first nine points, five of those coming from Gibbs.
-We knew they were a tough team so we wanted to make a statement quick, make a statement early, bring our intensity and I think that's what we did," said Gibbs.
|Ashton Gibbs scored five points as the USA jumped out to a 9-0 lead on France and never looked back.|
France countered with six straight points to make the score 9-6 with 5:42 still to play in the first, but Curry made good on his first two 3-point tries of the contest to lift the U.S. to a 19-8 lead.
'I had a little bit of rhythm," Curry said, -some guys penetrated and kicked it out to me and I was able to knock them down. But after I hit my first two threes they went box and one and that just opens it up for my teammates to get open shots and that's when we pushed it up."
Taking a 19-10 lead into the second quarter, France guard Andrew Albicy hit two threes to reduce the American lead to 21-16. A basket by DeAngelo Casto (Washington State / Spokane, Wash.), followed by five points from White, upped the U.S. lead to 28-16 with 5:32 left before half.
The U.S. outscored France 7-4 over the second quarter's final 5:05 and exited to its locker room at halftime enjoying a 35-20 lead.
Forcing France into 10 first half turnovers, the USA defense limited their opponents to just 7-of-24 shooting (29.2 percent) from the field, and the Americans outrebounded France 18-14.
|Making 4-of-7 3-point shots, Seth Curry led the U.S. with 12 points.|
Starting the second half like they did the game, the U.S. behind five points from Hayward, posted the first seven points of the third quarter and expanded their lead to 22, 42-20. Following Curry's third 3-pointer of the game, the U.S. lead reached 25, 52-27 with 4:21 left in the third quarter.
France outscored the U.S. 10-2 to cut the gap to 54-37 and awaken comeback visions. However, Arnett Moultrie (Texas-El Paso / Memphis, Tenn.) ended the U.S. scoring drought with a basket off an offensive rebound, then Gibbs put a dagger in France's heart when he drained a 3-pointer at the buzzer off of a beautiful drive and dish from Tyshawn Taylor (Kansas / Jersey City, N.J.). Gibbs' three upped the U.S. lead to 59-37.
France outscored the USA 18-14 in the final quarter and with 2:12 remaining in the game had reduced the U.S. advantage to 14 (68-54), but that was as close as they got.
For a second consecutive game the U.S. out battled their opponents on the glass, this time by a 39-34 margin. Making just 12 turnovers, the USA shot 40.0 percent overall, and was just 10-of-37 from 3-point.
In some of Friday's other game action, Egypt (1-1) defeated Iran (0-2) in overtime 95-91, Argentina (2-0) pounded Kazakhstan (0-2) 98-69, and Canada (1-1) handled Syria (0-2) 99-53. Friday evening's remaining action features Puerto Rico (1-0) versus Greece (1-0), Australia (1-0) against Spain (1-0), Angola (0-1) meets Lithuania (0-1) and Croatia (1-0) takes on host New Zealand (0-1).
Dixon is being assisted on the USA sidelines by collegiate head coaches Chris Lowery of Southern Illinois University and Matt Painter of Purdue University.
The 2009 FIBA U19 World Championship features 16 national teams comprised of athletes 19-years-old or younger (born on or after Jan. 1, 1990) that qualified through their FIBA zone tournaments. The United States has been placed in Group B, along with Egypt, France and Iran. The 12 remaining teams were distributed as such: Group A includes Angola, Greece, Lithuania and Puerto Rico; Group C consists of Australia, Canada, Spain and Syria; and Group D is comprised of Argentina, Croatia, Kazakhstan and host New Zealand.
With each teams' three preliminary round games schedule to be completed July 4, the top three finishing teams from each preliminary group will qualify for the preliminary second round, while the fourth place teams will qualify for the classification round to determine 13th to 16th places.
The twelve teams qualified for the second round, which will be played July 6-8, will be divided into groups E and F, with six teams in each group. The top three preliminary round teams from groups A and B will advance to Group E, and the top three from C and D will advance to Group F. Each team will play the three new teams in its new group, with the final scores of all games played in the preliminary round carrying over to determine the second round standings.
Teams finishing in first through fourth places in the two second round groups will qualify for the quarterfinals, with the opportunity to advance to the semifinals and finals. Teams finishing in fifth and sixth places in Groups E and F will play for ninth through 12th places. The quarterfinals will be held on July 10, semifinals are slated for July 11 and the gold medal game will be contested on July 12.