Aug. 21, 2011
SHENZHEN, China – Tim Abromaitis (Unionville, Conn.) had his best outing in seven games as the Irish forward scored 11 points and tied for game-high honors with eight rebounds to help lead the 2011 USA Men’s World University Games Team (6-1) to a 94-73 victory over Romania, Sunday evening, Aug. 21 at Luohu Gym in Shenzen, China.
As a starter, Abromaitis connected on 5-of-6 shots from the field in 22 minutes of action.
With the win, the USA team, which jumped out to a 12-0 lead to start the game, advances to the fifth/sixth-place of the 2011 World University Games and will meet Germany (6-1) at 6:00 p.m. local time (6:00 a.m. Eastern time) on Monday, Aug. 22.
“I thought our guys did a good job of bouncing back,” said USA and Purdue University head mentor Matt Painter. “I thought that first group really got things going and did a good job defensively. Draymond Green really got us into a rhythm with those two threes, and I thought he played well. I think that was important for us to come out and get off to a good start.”
Draymond Green (Michigan State/Saginaw, Mich.), who shot 7-of-10 from the field, finished with 16 points, four rebounds and four assists; John Jenkins (Vanderbilt/ Hendersonville, Tenn.) tallied 12 points and was 7-of-8 from the free throw line; JaMychal Green (Alabama/Montgomery, Ala.) also added 12 points to go with his seven rebounds.
“We could have either went one of two ways, we could have come out like we weren’t the United States and we didn’t have pride in our country and just played like trash, or we could come out and play with a lot of energy,” Green said. “We wanted to bounce back, and no matter what, we are still playing for something, and that’s the way we came out, with intensity. And we defended, that was the main goal. We really keyed in on the defensive end, and that led to a lot of quick offense.”
The game was not more than five minutes old by the time the USA had taken a 12-0 lead, including scores from five different American players. Romania put points on the board at 5:42 with two made free throws but didn’t connect from the field until a bucket at 3:38 that brought the score to 15-4 in the USA’s favor. Romania sank two more free throws, but a three-point play and two points from the charity stripe from Orlando Johnson (UC Santa Barbara/Seaside, Calif.) put the Americans on top 20-6 at 1:52. Romania scored three of its four field goals in the period in the last 1:37, and the USA headed to the bench at the first intermission with a 20-12 advantage.
“We got a lot of easy transition buckets, a lot of fast breaks,” Abromaitis said. “They played a lot of zone, which we hadn’t seen, but we have practiced against it, and we were ready for it. I think that helped us get a lot of easy shots.”
Green knocked down consecutive 3-pointers to start the second period and scored eight of the USA’s first 10 points in the quarter as the U.S. lead stretched to 28-15. Romania cut the gap to 11 points, 36-25, before Ray McCallum (Detroit Mercy/Beverly Hills, Mich.) connected from deep and the USA closed on an 11-4 run to take a 47-29 lead into the halftime locker room.
Romania’s Titus Nicoara, who finished as the game’s high scorer, scored nine of his 22 points in the third quarter to help his side nearly keep pace with the Americans. The USA improved its advantage by one point in the stanza, outscoring Romania 27-26 to compile a 74-55 heading into the fourth period.
Trailing by 20 or more points throughout the fourth quarter, Romania never quit fighting and the final 10 minutes were much like the third period, with the USA outscoring Romania 20-18 to bring the game to its 94-73 final.
“We were pressuring the ball, and a lot of guys were getting transition buckets and dunks,” McCallum said. “We just had fun tonight.”
The USA forced Romania into 23 turnovers, won the rebounding battle 43-37 and scored 64 points in the paint to Romania’s 38.
Trevor Mbakwe (Minnesota/ St. Paul, Minn.) continued to be a presence in the paint, collecting eight rebounds, while Marcus Denmon (Missouri/Kansas City, Mo.) grabbed three steals.
Cuonzo Martin of the University of Tennessee and Brad Stevens of Butler University are serving as assistant coaches for the 2011 USA Men’s World University Games Team. Also today, Canada (5-1) beat Lithuania (5-2) 83-68 to advance to the 2011 World University Games gold medal game, where it will meet Serbia (4-2), which topped Russia (6-1) 81-61. Lithuania and Russia will compete for the bronze medal.
The World University Games is a multi-sport competition open to men and women who are between the ages of 17 and 24, who currently or have been within the past year, a student at a college or university.
The United States, which has claimed a medal in every World University Games since beginning play in 1965, has captured a record 13 golds, three silvers and three bronze medals in the 19 WUGs in which a USA Basketball squad has competed, and the U.S. owns a 131-8 entering this year’s event.