Aug. 12, 2005
BELO HORIZONTE, Brazil (from USA Basketball) -- Playing its first game after just six practices, despite 26 points from guard Charlie Bell (Leche Rio-Spain/Michigan State ?01) the USA Men's World Championship Qualifying Team (0-1) fell to Canada (1-1) 95-86 Thursday night in the first of its three COPA International Tournament games in Belo Horizonte, Brazil.
The USA squad is looking to gain international experience before competing Aug. 24-Sept 4 in the FIBA Americas Men's World Championship Qualifying Tournament. The COPA International Tournament is a four-team, round-robin tournament also featuring senior national teams from Argentina, Brazil and Canada. The USA continues tournament play Friday against Argentina (1-1) (5 p.m. EDT), who fell 91-59 to Brazil (1-0) in Thursday's other game. The tournament concludes Saturday with the USA meeting host Brazil (9 a.m. EDT).
Bruin great Tyus Edney started for the U. S. at point guard. He played 22 minutes, and scored 12 points (4-6, 0-1, 4-5), with a team-high three assists and a game-high four steals. In 1995, Edney, along with co-seniors Ed O'Bannon and George Zidek, helped lead the Bruins to the school's 11th NCAA Championship.
"I told the guys in the locker room this is the first time I've seen a lot of them ever play in a real game. So this is a learning process. We are not the favorites and we're going to have to improve and we will, I'm sure we will," said USA head coach Mo McHone. "I was disappointed in our defense. We gave up too many points, but we were pushing the ball and trying to get quick shots and when you do that you're going to give up points."
"The game comes very easy to Charlie Bell, thank goodness. He is an extremely good player, but we're going to have to get some production from some of the other players. But I feel like once we get to know each other we'll be all right. We threw the ball away on the fastbreak three or four times where the guy was open, we just haven't played together enough."
For more information on the USA involvement in the COPA International Tournament, please go to www.usabasketball.com.