Balanced Scoring Propels USA U19 Team To 83-54 Win Over Canada
July 4, 2011 • Riga, Latvia
The fireworks for the USA U19 Team’s Fourth of July celebration started midway through the first quarter and when the final horn sounded, the Americans, led by 16 points from James Bell (Villanova/Orlando, Fla.), had improved to 4-0 with a convincing 83-54 win against Canada (1-3) in second round opening day action at the FIBA U19 World Championship in Riga, Latvia.
“My teammates put in the right positions. They made great passes and I was just knocking down shots, it was just one of those days,” stated Bell, who made 4-of-6 3-point tries and added eight rebounds.
All 12 USA players scored in the runaway victory. Doug McDermott (Creighton/Ames, Iowa) tossed in 10 points, while Lamb (Connecticut/ Norcross, Ga.) added nine points, Joe Jackson (Memphis/Memphis, Tenn.) and Patric Young (Florida/Jacksonville, Fla.) were credited with eight points.
“I thought Canada played very well at the start, they gave us a lot of problems and then Jahii came in and got our running game going and we got going in transition and got some easy baskets and that opened the game for us,” remarked USA head coach Paul Hewitt (George Mason).
After Canada ran off seven straight points to take a 10-6 lead with 5:19 left in the opening quarter, the USA made it 10-9 on a Tim Hardaway, Jr. (Michigan/Miami, Fla.) 3-pointer. Canada pushed back ahead 14-11 when a jumper by Tony Mitchell (North Texas/Dallas, Texas) started the USA on 13-0 run that would continue in the second quarter. Finishing the first quarter with 10 consecutive points, from four different players including four from Jahii Carson (Mesa High School/*Arizona State/Phoenix, Ariz.), the U.S. began to take charge and led 21-14.
The Americans kept their stride going and outgunned Canada 13-4 over the first five minutes of the second period to take charge 34-18. By halftime the U.S. was in full control 46-23. Canada reduced the USA lead to a low of 19 points, but the game’s outcome was never in question as Canada was unable to sustain any scoring momentum.
“I like to push the basketball and I think putting pressure on the defense catches them off guard and that’s something I like to try to do,” said Carson, who finished with six points, six assists, three rebounds and three steals in 15 minutes of action. “And on the defensive end I try to get into the point guard and make him uncomfortable. I think when Coach Hewitt calls my name that’s one thing I liked to try to bring to the floor, put a little spark into the game.”
The U.S., which shot 51.4 percent (19-37 FGs) in the first half, finished shooting 44.0 percent overall. The U.S. defense limited Canada to 30.0 percent (24-80 FGs) shooting for the game and just 3of-22 shooting from 3-point.
“One thing I’ve noticed as this tournament has gone on, we’ve become a little bit more cohesive defensively. Guys can now take more chances because they know their teammate is going to be there to help them if something doesn’t go right. So I like the fact that we’re playing together better defensively as the tournament has gone on,” said Hewitt.
Led by nine rebounds from Mitchell, eight from Bell and seven from Young and Meyers Leonard (Illinois/Robinson, Ill.) each as the USA outrebounded Canada 55-51.
Next up for the Americas are medal favorites Lithuania (3-1). Just one week ago, June 28, the USA squad squared off against the Lithuanian U19 National Team in an exhibition game in Vilnius, Lithuania. Lithuania rolled past the USA team 108-75.
“We just have to play better, we didn’t play well, and they played really well. If we’re going to have a chance against them we’re going to have to play better and hope they don’t play as well,” said Hewitt.
“I think we know what we have to do, we’ve got do a really good job on Jonas Valanciunas and try and take them off of the 3-point line because that’s what they do really well - shoot it and play out of the post,” added McDermott.
In other second round games completed Monday, Croatia rallied in the final minute to overtake Egypt (1-3) 83-81; Lithuania (3-1) dominated the fourth quarter to take a 71-54 win versus Serbia (2-2); while Australia (3-1) edged Russia (2-2) 85-78.
Sixteen nations are battling for the 2011 FIBA U19 World Championship for Men gold medal. The U.S. will enjoy a day of Sunday and travel to Riga, Latvia, where the U19 World Championship second round will be held. Second round play takes place July 4-6.
The top three teams from each preliminary group qualified for the second round, while the fourth place teams advance to the classification round to determine 13th to 16th places. The quarterfinals will be held on July 8, semifinals are slated for July 9 and the gold and bronze medal games, as well as the 5th/6th place and 7th/8th place games will be contested on July 10.
Assisting Hewitt on the U.S. sidelines are collegiate head coaches Randy Bennett of St. Mary’s College and Cliff Warren of Jacksonville University.