Aug. 15, 2011
SHENZHEN, China – The 2011USA Men’s Basketball World University Games Team topped the 100-point mark for the third time in as many games in cruising to a 112-68 victory over South Korea on Monday, Aug. 15 at the ’11 World University Games at the Universiade Main Gym in Shenzen, China. The USA squad moved to 3-0 with the win, while South Korea fell to 1-2 as Irish forward Tim Abromaitis (Unionville, Conn.) finished with four points and five rebounds in nearly 14 minutes of action off the bench.
Outsized and overpowered, South Korea was no match for the USA team which featured six players in double figures and a 61-35 rebounding advantage.
The USA will continue play in the World University Games against Finland at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, Aug. 17 (Wednesday) local time (6:00 a.m. EST in the United States) before wrapping up pool play against Israel at 3:30 p.m. (3:30 a.m. EST in the United States) on Thursday, Aug. 18.
“South Korea gave us a different look,” said USA and Purdue University head mentor Matt Painter. “They had quickness at every single one of their positions. They were hard to handle. They were in constant movement. It was a good look for our guys to be able to handle that. They played a lot smaller than we play, so that was a little bit of a tough match-up. But I thought our depth and our overall strength and our ability to rebound really helped us.”
JaMychal Green (Alabama/Montgomery, Ala.) was the game’s high scorer with 17 points and six rebounds, while Scoop Jardine (Syracuse/ Philadelphia, Pa.) added 16 points and three assists and two players finished with double-doubles. Trevor Mbakwe (Minnesota/ St. Paul, Minn.) scored 14 points and grabbed 11 rebounds, and Draymond Green (Michigan State/Saginaw, Mich.) finished with 12 points, 12 boards and four steals.
Rounding out the USA’s top scorers were Ashton Gibbs (Pittsburgh/Scotch Plains, N.J.) with 14 points and four assists and John Jenkins (Vanderbilt/ Hendersonville, Tenn.) with 12 points.
“We’re an unselfish team,” Jardine said. “We don’t have too many superstars. We have a lot of good players, a lot of older players who have played in college three years and when you have a core like that, everybody knows what it takes to win games, we’ve all played in big games and that’s what it’s going to take to win the gold medal.”
The USA’s size advantage lead to 23 offensive rebounds and 64 points in the paint, allowing South Korea just 28 points from the key, and the U.S. offense shot a solid 54.9 percent from the field (45-82 FGs) as all 12 players recorded at least 10 minutes of action.
“It’s always great to sit down and know that the team out there is still going to play well,” JaMychal Green said. “We’re not losing anything. That’s always a great thing.”
Jaeseok Jang gave South Korea a 4-0 lead to start the game, but a combined nine points from Mbakwe and Orlando Johnson (UC Santa Barbara/Seaside, Calif.) helped the USA keep pace. The lead changed sides four times before two points from Jardine at 4:07 brought the score to 11-10 and put the USA up for the remainder of the game. South Korea answered nearly every USA score for the next four minutes, however, and the score was 24-19 at the first break.
After trading baskets for the first minute of the second period, the USA compiled its largest run of the game and reeled off nine unanswered points to take a 35-24 lead off of a bucket from Darius Miller (Kentucky/Maysville, Ky.) at 6:26. As five U.S. players combined for 20 more points in the stanza, South Korea sank three 3-pointers to prevent the lead from ballooning beyond the 55-42 halftime score.
“South Korea was a good team,” Draymond Green said. “They were very fast. That kind of caught us off guard, but I think we did a great job adjusting to it. We’re going to have to do a better job of it when we face fast guys like those guys, keeping them in front of us. Overall, we played a pretty good game.”
The strength of the U.S. roster was especially evident in the second half as the Americans continued to push the tempo and share the ball. Nine players combined for 26 points while the U.S. defense limited South Korea to just four field goals and 12 points. The USA produced two more scoring runs in the third period, including an 8-0 spurt that brought the score to 63-45 when Jenkins scored a fast-break layup at 6:51 and a 6-0 streak that put the USA ahead 74-48 when JaMychal Green, who scored six points in the period, slammed home a U.S. miss at 3:19. Abromaitis ended the quarter with two free throws that widened the margin to 81-54.
The fourth quarter was more of the same as nine players tallied 31 points for the red, white and blue, including seven from Mbakwe and four from Gibbs. South Korea managed 14 points to bring the game to its 112-68 final.
“They didn’t go to the bench that much compared to us,” Abromaitis said. “We have 12 guys who are playing pretty equally. We definitely wore them out in the second half. We were able to get a lot of fast-break layups because I think they were tired by the end of the game.”
Mingoo Kim tallied a team-high 12 points for South Korea.
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. In today’s other Pool D games, Finland (2-1) beat Hungary (0-3) 78-54, and Mexico (1-1) will play Israel (1-1) later this evening.
Following the preliminary round, the top two finishing teams from each pool will advance to the medal quarterfinals, which will be contested on Aug. 20. The semifinals are scheduled for Aug. 21, and the finals will be played on Aug. 22.
The World University Games are a multi-sport competition organized every other year by the International University Sports Federation (FISU) and are 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 record in the event.