July 1, 2003
DALLAS, Texas -- Opening play in the 2003 Global Games in Dallas, Texas, the USA Junior World Championship Team (1-0) got 3-pointers from six different players and made 13-of-25 3-pointers to shoot their way to a 79-63 victory over Lithuania (0-1) Monday night at Southern Methodist University's Moody Coliseum. The USA will continue play in the Global Games Tuesday facing 1-0 Global Games Select Team.
"Considering we didn't have J.J. Redick playing because of some (tight) hamstrings, I thought it was a very good game for us," said USA head coach Ernie Kent of the University of Oregon. "We shot the ball well, did a nice job of distributing the ball and taking good shots, and I think any time you can make 13 threes and shoot over 50 percent from three and the field, that 's pretty good offensive production.
"For our first game it gave us an opportunity to really get a look at some things we need to work on. I would expect this team to get better each quarter and certainly better each game that we play. That 's the best thing about us playing in the Global Games- we get a chance to get better before we go to Greece for the Junior World Championship."
The difference in Monday's game came in the second quarter's final five minutes. Holding a 28-26 lead, the USA closed out the second period with a 13-4 run to open up a 41-30 lead at intermission. Kevin Pittsnogle (West Virginia / Martinsburg, W. Va.) put back a miss to push the USA ahead 30-26, then Illini guard Daniel "Dee" Brown (Illinois / Maywood, Ill.) went to work scoring the next five points, making two free throws and connecting on a 3-pointer. The USA 3-point barrage continued and with 14 seconds left in the half, Daniel Horton (Michigan / Cedar Hill, Texas) drained a three, and as time expired in the half, Pittsnogle likewise found the mark from behind the 3-point arc to increase the USA lead to 11 points.
The 3-point attack by the Americans continued when the third quarter opened. Maurice Ager (Michigan State/Detroit, Mich.) and Deron Williams (Illinois / The Colony, Texas) made back-to-back 3-pointers, and following a Daniel Brown 3-pointer with 4:38 to play, the USA had expanded its lead to a game high 21 points, 54-33.
Although Lithuania chipped away at the USA advantage and eventually closed to within 12 points, 60-48, with 6:47 remaining in the game, Williams' third 3-pointer in the game, was followed by consecutive baskets by David Burgess (Woodbridge High School/Irvine, Calif.) to up the U.S. lead to 67-48 and end Lithuania's hopes of victory.
Although the USA managed to make 52.0 percent (26-50 FGs) from the floor overall, the Americans were a deadly 13-of-25 (52.0 percent) from 3-point, including 6-of-9 in the second half.
Six different U.S. players spotted up for at least one 3-pointer. Ager (3-of-5), Daniel Brown (3-of-5) and Williams (3-of-4) each dropped a trio of threes, while Horton was credited with a pair of threes, Paul Davis (Michigan State/Rochester, Mich.) and Pittsnogle each accounted for one 3-pointer.
The USA relied on a balanced scoring attack that saw 12 players score. The USA offense was paced by Davis, who tallied 11 points and grabbed a team high nine rebounds, while Daniel Brown also tallied 11 points and added a game best five assists. Further aiding the U.S. scoring with nine points were Ager and Williams, while Horton finished with eight points.
Ryan Hollins, UCLA's starting 6-11 center last season as a true freshman, scored six points (2-4, 0-0, 2-2) and grabbed four rebounds, including two offensive.
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). The USA team finalists were selected by the USA Basketball Men's Collegiate Committee. The official 12-member USA junior team will be finalized during the team's June 24-July 6 training camp in Dallas. 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.
In Monday's other Global Games action, the Global Games Select team (1-0) held off Puerto Rico (1-1) 104-93; Canada (1-0) got things off on the right foot by posting a 73-65 win over Africa (0-1); and Scandinavia (1-1) earned its first win after defeating Ukraine (0-1) 84-66. In opening day play Sunday, Yugoslavia (1-0) recorded a lopsided 121-69 win against Brazil (1-1), while Puerto Rico rolled to a 99-85 win over Scandinavia.
Play continues Tuesday with Ukraine facing Brazil, Canada will meet Scandinavia, Lithuania will play Africa, Yugoslavia goes against Puerto Rico, and the USA Juniors will take on the Global Games Select squad.
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