July 15, 2003
THESSALONIKI, Greece - In a game of a lifetime, Daniel "Dee" Brown (Illinois/Maywood, Ill.) poured in a USA Junior World Championship record 47 points, including 19 of his team's 21 fourth quarter points, as the USA remained undefeated and improved to 5-0 after fighting back from 14 points down to post a heart stopping 87-84 victory over Lithuania (3-2) Tuesday afternoon.
UCLA's Ryan Hollins started for the third straight game and in 28 minutes, responded with 11 points (5-10, 0-0, 1-2), a team-high nine rebounds (7-2), one assist and two blocked shots. In five games (three starts), Hollins is averaging 18.8 minutes, 7.6 points, 5.4 rebounds, 1.0 assists and 1.0 blocked shots and shooting 53.8 (14-26) from the field and 62.5 (10-16) from the foul line.
The win improved the USA to 2-0 in quarterfinals play and leaves it on top of the Group G standings. However, the United States needs a victory in Wednesday's final quarterfinals game against Australia (4-1, 1-1 in quarterfinals play) to insure it advances to the medal round semifinals. Australia in quarterfinals play earlier today recorded a narrow 83-82 victory over Puerto Rico (2-3, 0-2 in quarterfinals play).
"That was a great international basketball game. Lithuania was definitely ready to play. We were lucky to win the game because I don't think we were ready to play and "Dee" Brown saved us," stated Ernie Kent, the USA mentor. "I can't say enough about "Dee" Brown. Anybody that can knock down nine threes and all of them big threes, that tells me a lot about his character and type of player he is. We called a ton of plays for him down the stretch that gave him an opportunity to make buckets because he was the only one that was really shooting it very well from the perimeter."
Daniel Brown was unstoppable, making 18-of-29 shots overall, including 9-of-15 from 3-point, and 2-for-2 from the foul line. Additionally, the 6'1" guard added four rebounds, six assists and six steals in 37 minutes of action.
Daniel Brown's 47 points surpassed Kenny Walker's previous USA high scoring record of 33 points, he also established USA records for most field goals made and attempted, and most 3-pointers made and attempted.
But even more impressive was the fact that Brown single-handily won the United States a crucial game. In the fourth quarter alone, he tallied 19 of the USA's 21 points, sinking 8-of-9 shots, including all five 3-pointers.
The game was deadlocked 64 all entering the fourth quarter. After Paul Davis (Michigan State/Rochester, Mich.) scored the USA's only points not from "Dee" Brown with 6:56 left, the U.S. was holding a 71-68 lead. Lithuania's Linas Kleiza, who finished with 28 points and will be playing at the University of Missouri next season, scored eight straight points during a 10-2 offensive run that saw Lithuania surge ahead 78-74 with 4:50 to go.
Trailing 81-78 with 2:15 remaining, "Dee" Brown hit his seventh 3-pointer of the game to even the score at 81-81. Lithuania's Kleiza missed a three and Daniel Brown came away with the rebound. On the other end, he again found the range from three to lift the U.S. ahead 84-81 with 1:27 left to play, then following another miss by Lithuania, did it again, sinking another 3-pointer to push the U.S. advantage to 87-81 with 48 seconds showing.
Lithuania made it tight when Arturas Jomantas made a three and his only shot in the game with 35.4 seconds left to close the deficit to 87-84. The U.S., turned the ball over, but Lithuania had difficulty getting anyone open and Gediminas Maceina launched a would be game tying 3-pointer that was well off the mark. De'Angelo Alexander (Oklahoma/Midwest City, Okla.) grabbed the rebound with 2.1 second to play and was immediately fouled. Lithuania however, was not yet in the bonus and when the USA in bounded the ball to Dee Brown, time expired and the USA had the win.
The USA fell into early foul trouble and struggled with its shooting in the opening quarter, and quickly found itself chasing Lithuania. With the U.S., shooting just 4-of-16 (25.0 percent) over the first 10 minutes, Lithuania made 10 of its first 16 shots and sprinted away from the USA with a 14-4 run midway through the opening stanza to expand its lead to 22-9.
Holding a 29-17 lead at the end of one, Lithuania pushed out to a 31-17 lead and with 6:25 to go in the quarter the lead was 12, 36-24. Switching to a zone defense, the U.S. began to find its rhythm. Behind a defense that allowed Lithuania just two field goals for the remaining 6:25, the Americans slowly fought back into the game.
"When we switched up and went zone (in the second quarter), I think that really caught them by surprise. We were able to still pressure their shots, and we got them to stand around. I thought they were really punishing us inside with No. 11 (Linas Kleiza). With the zone it took away their inside game and put them on the perimeter. We got them to miss and once they started to miss it allowed us to use our strength which is our quickness in transition," remarked Kent on the game's swinging point.
Sparking the USA was Daniel Brown. With Daniel Brown contributing 13 points while Davis added five, the Americans closed out the rest of the first half with a 19-4 run, and after Daniel Brown connected on a 3-pointer with 1:16 left before half, the USA had its first lead of the game, 43-40. The USA improved its shooting, making 11-of-23 in the second period, and pressured Lithuania with its zone defense into a dooming 4-for-17 from the field, while forcing nine turnovers.
Lithuania outscored the United States 13-4 over the first 4:13 of the third quarter and again moved ahead 53-47. After the U.S. countered with a 15-2 run, with Daniel Brown accounting for eight points and Davis five, the U.S. had its biggest lead of the game, 62-55. Lithuania roared back once more and scored the third quarter's final seven points to deadlock the contest and set the stage for the down-to-the-wire finish.
While Daniel Brown carried the bulk of the USA offense, Davis finished with 13 points and Hollins (UCLA/Pasadena, Calif.) added 11 points and a team best nine rebounds. With neither team shooting better than 46 percent for the game, foul shooting may have been the difference. The U.S. made 12-of-13 free throws, setting another U.S. game record for highest percentage with its 92.3 accuracy, while Lithuania made just 15-of-24 charity tries.
In Tuesday's other Group G game, Australia (4-1) got back on the winning track after pulling out an 83-82 victory over Puerto Rico, while in Group H, Croatia bettered Slovenia 113-103. In the consolation bracket, Argentina knocked off Iran 94-62, Venezuela defeated China 76-58, and South Korea outscored Angola 101-78. The evening's final games to be played feature 4-0 Greece taking on Turkey (3-1) and Nigeria meeting Malaysia in the consolation round.
The 7th Annual FIBA Men's Junior World Championship is being held July 10-20 in Thessaloniki, Greece. Featuring 16 junior national teams that qualified last summer, 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 before Jan. 1, 1984). The USA team finalists were selected by the USA Basketball Men's Collegiate Committee. The official 12-member USA junior team was finalized during the team's June 24-July 6 training camp in Dallas.
2003 FIBA Men's Junior World Championship Schedule/Results
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