July 3, 2003
DALLAS, Texas - The USA Junior World Championship Team (3-0) won its third consecutive game in as many nights as Maurice Ager (Michigan State / Detroit, Mich.) scored 15 of his game-high 21 points in the first half as the USA handed Africa (1-2) a 97-69 thumping Wednesday night in Global Games action at Southern Methodist University's Moody Coliseum. The USA continues play in the Global Games Thursday facing 2-1 Canada. For up-to-date Global Games results over the July 4 holiday weekend, please go to www.usabasketball.com.
Although the U.S. jetted out to 10-4 and 15-8 leads, Africa dominated the glass and closed the first quarter with an 8-2 run to cut the USA lead to 17-16. Africa made just 33.3 percent of its shots in the first quarter, but they out-rebounded the U.S. 16-8, including nine offensive boards.
The U.S. lead was one, 22-21 with 7:34 left in the first half, but suddenly the Americans found their shooting eye and the result was a 19-5 offensive explosion that allowed the USA to grab a 43-26 lead with 1:25 left in the second period. During the decisive run, the U.S. hit five 3-points, as Ager and J.J. Redick (Duke / Roanoke, N.C.) each dropped a pair and Mustafa Shakur (Friends Central High School / Wynnewood, Pa.) also added a three-pointer. At half, the USA led comfortably 45-32.
The U.S., which was 0-3 from three point land in the first 10 minutes, connected on 5-of-6 of its threes in the second quarter and made 11-of-19 shots overall.
The USA sealed win No. 3 with a 16-3 run to open the third quarter that resulted in the USA advantage being pushed to 61-35. The U.S. rolled on from there for the 97-69 victory.
USA head coach Ernie Kent attributed his team's sluggish start to fatigue, commenting, and "I thought we played well in the second half We were a little bit sluggish coming out in the first half and I think a lot of that had to do with last night being such a big game for us. The fact that we are now on our eighth day in a row and five of those were two-a-day practices, so we're probably a little bit worn out. But we blew some things out of our system and really got going and got right back to the level that we're accustomed to playing at in the second half."
In addition to Ager's game-high 21 points, the USA received 10 point scoring efforts from Paul Davis (Michigan State/Rochester, Mich.), Kevin Pittsnogle (West Virginia / Martinsburg, W.Va.) and Deron Williams (Illinois / The Colony, Texas). The USA owned a 46-38 advantage on the glass led by Graham Brown (Michigan / Mio, Mich.) and Davis who pulled down nine and eight boards, respectively.
Ryan Hollins, UCLA's 6-11 starting center last season as a true freshman, played 16 minutes, getting six points (1-2,0-0,4-5), six rebounds (0-6) and one assist. In three games, Hollins is averaging 11.7 minutes, 6.7 points, 4.7 rebounds and 1.0 steals and shooting 55.6 (5-9) from the field and 83.3 (10-12) from the foul line.
The USA for the third consecutive night shot the ball over 50.0 percent. The USA made 55.2 percent of its shots, including 10-of-20 from 3-point. Africa, shot a chilly 34.8 percent.
Duke sharp shooter J.J. Redick saw his first action of the Global Games after missing the USA's first two games because of a sore left hamstring. Redick made three of his first four shots, including two 3-pointers, played 17 minutes and finished the night with eight points on 3-of-8 shooting.
The USA Junior squad began training June 24 and will compete July 10-20 in the 2003 FIBA Men's Junior World Championship that was recently moved from Malaysia to Thessaloniki, Greece. Featuring 16 junior national teams that qualified last summer, the teams have been placed into four groups of four for preliminary round robin play. The top two teams from each group will advance to the medal second round, while the remainder of the field will compete for 9th - 16th place. The USA has been placed in Group C, joining China, Nigeria and Slovenia. The USA will open play against Slovenia on July 10, and face China on July 11 and Nigeria on July 12. Second round action is being played July 14-16, while the world championship semifinals slated to be held July 19 and the finals will be played July 20.
Eligibility for the 2003 USA Basketball Men's Junior World Championship Team is limited to any male athlete who is a U.S. citizen and 19-years-old or younger (born on or after Jan. 1, 1984/Hollins was born 10/10/84). The USA team finalists were selected by the USA Basketball Men's Collegiate Committee. The USA squad as part of its training for the FIBA Junior World Championship is taking part in the 2003 Global Games that feature 10 teams.
Wednesday's other Global Game results saw Yugoslavia (3-0) win its third consecutive game as it defeated Ukraine (1-2) 90-70, the Global Games Select Team (2-1) rolled over Brazil (0-3), and Lithuania (1-2) earned its first win and handed Canada (2-1) its first loss 98-97.
Thursday's Global Games will feature five games, Lithuania vs. Ukraine, Africa takes on Scandinavia, Brazil faces Puerto Rico, the Global Games Select Team will meet Yugoslavia, and the USA juniors face Canada.
2003 Global Games Schedule/Results
|Global Games Select||2-1|
Sunday, June 29
Puerto Rico 99, Scandinavia 85
Yugoslavia 121, Brazil 69
Monday, June 30
Canada 73, Africa 65
Scandinavia 84, Ukraine 66
Global Games Select 104, Puerto Rico 93
USA 79, Lithuania 63
Tuesday, July 1
Ukraine 95, Brazil 89
Canada 98, Scandinavia 71
Africa 62, Lithuania 53
Yugoslavia 84, Puerto Rico 74
USA 97, Global Games Select 77
Wednesday, July 2
Lithuania 98, Canada 97
Yugoslavia 90, Ukraine 70
Global Games Select 106, Brazil 69
USA 97, Africa 69
Saturday, July 5
12:00 p.m. - Medal Round Game
2:00 p.m. - Medal Round Game
4:00 p.m. - Medal Round Game
6:00 p.m. - Bronze Medal Game
8:00 p.m. - Gold Medal Game
NOTE: All times are Dallas local times (CDT). All games played at Southern Methodist University's Moody Coliseum.