Howard Thompkins' 22 Points Leads USA To 85-69 Win Over Greece
-- Rebounds And Free Throw Shooting Helped Propel U.S. To Fourth Straight Victory --
July 6, 2009 - Auckland, New Zealand
|Howard Thompkins scored a game high 22 points on 10-of-14 shooting to help pave the way to a USA 85-69 victory over Greece Monday night in FIBA U19 World Championship action in Auckland, New Zealand.|
Forward Howard Thompkins (Georgia / Lithonia, Ga.) scored a game best 22 points on 10-of-14 shooting to power the USA Men's U19 Team (4-0) to an inspired 85-69 victory over Greece (2-2) Monday night in FIBA U19 World Championship play in Auckland, New Zealand. Second round play continues Tuesday with the USA squaring off against Puerto Rico (4-1) in a 7:30 p.m. (Auckland local time) game.
The U.S. offensive showing, which saw 11 of 12 players score, was aided by Gordon Hayward's (Butler / Brownsburg, Ind.) nine points, while Seth Curry (Duke / Charlotte, N.C.), Shelvin Mack (Butler / Lexington, Ky.), John Shurna (Northwestern / Glen Ellyn, Ill.), Ashton Gibbs (Pittsburgh / Scotch Plains, N.J.) and Tyshawn Taylor (Kansas / Jersey City, N.J.) each added eight points.
-I decided today that I was going to be very, very aggressive. I heard that Greece liked to bump and bang, well I decided that I was going to be the guy that initiated it first and they were going to have to throw punches back," said Thompkins.
Neither team was able to establish much of a lead over the first 20 minutes. Fueled by six points from Thompkins, the U.S. led 13-9 with 5:05 in the first quarter. Greece outscored the Americans 8-1 to take a 17-14 lead with 1:50 left in the quarter, but the U.S. got an offensive rebound put back from Shurna and a pair of free throws from Curry to grab an 18-17 lead after one quarter of action.
|DeAngelo Casto battles his Greek opponent for inside position.|
Greece opened the second quarter with an 8-2 assault that left the scoreboard reading 25-20 in their favor. The USA countered with an 8-0 run that was again powered by Thompkins' four points inside and with 6:35 remaining before half the U.S. and edged ahead 28-25. Tied 33-33 with 2:40 showing on the clock, the U.S. closed out the first half with 3-pointers from Gibbs and Shurna, and added a steal and a layup by Klay Thompson (Washington State / Ladera Ranch, Calif.) to outscore the Greeks 8-2 and grab a 41-36 lead at halftime.
Going back inside to open the third quarter, Thompkins scored four of the USA's first six points and the Americans made 7-of-9 free throws during a 17-6 scoring run that saw its lead pushed to 16 points, 58-42, with 5:08 left in the quarter.
Greece wouldn't quit, however, and after assembling an 11-3 offensive effort, Greece had cut the U.S. advantage to eight, 61-53. A pair of free throws from Hayward upped the USA lead to 63-53 going into the final stanza.
|Arnett Moultrie goes up for two versus Greece.|
Neither team shot well from the field. The U.S. shot 42.0 percent overall and Greece made just 41.0 percent of its shots. Greece shot 11-of-25 from three as compared to 6-of-21 shooting by the U.S.
The Americans owned a striking advantage at the free throw strip and on the glass. The USA made 25-of-32 free throws, compared to 8-of-14 shooting for Greece, and the Americans grabbed 16 offensive boards and outrebounded Greece 38 to 26 overall.
'It was a little different game for us, a kind of grind it out game. It wasn't real pretty as far as offense, but I thought we defended some things pretty well," USA head coach Jamie Dixon stated. -I thought Howard (Thompkins) played well, we got the ball inside like we wanted to. We figured out some things as the game went on, so it was a good win. They're a good team, they got some guys who can score."
Dixon is being assisted on the USA sidelines by collegiate head coaches Chris Lowery of Southern Illinois University and Matt Painter of Purdue University.
|Shelvin Mack contributed eight points, five boards and three assists in the win.|
In the day's other second round action, Croatia (4-0) remained perfect with an 83-77 win over Canada (1-3), Argentina (3-1) downed Spain (2-2) 92-75, Australia (4-0) easily handled Kazakhstan (1-3) 87-54, and Puerto Rico (3-1) slipped past France (2-2) 91-89, in a game in which Puerto Rico guard Mike Rasario scored 54 points. In the consolation bracket, Angola (1-3) earned its first win beating Iran (0-4) 62-53, while host New Zealand (1-3) also recorded its first win besting Syria (0-4) 93-75.
The USA will go for a fifth consecutive win Tuesday facing a 3-1 Puerto Rico team that saw their guard Mike Rasario score 54 points in their 90-89 win over France tonight.
-I'm familiar with a few of their guys and obviously we saw Rasario had the big game so we know what we have to do there. But their guards are their scorers and we knew that even before today so we'll be prepared to guard them. We've got numbers, we've got guys and we've got bodies. I think that's a strength of ours and we've got to do it with our defense," said Dixon.
The twelve teams qualified for the second round, which will be played July 6-8, were divided into groups E and F, with six teams in each group. The top three preliminary round teams from groups A and B advanced to Group E, and the top three from C and D formed 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.