Sunday, July 3, 2011

FIBA U19 World Championship -- USA Downs China Sweeps Group D Play

A Perfect Ending to Group D Play
Team USA built a 12 point lead over winless (in Group D play) Team China in the first period and never looked back as they logged a second double digit win ( points) of 82-66, in the first preliminary round of the FIBA U19 World Championship in Latvia this afternoon. The win sends the American team into the second preliminary round with the top seed in Group F play. Connecticut's Jeremy Lamb shared the game-high scoring honors with China's Mingxin Ju, as the two small forwards scored 17 points for their respective sides. Ju shot 7-16 (0-4, 7-12) from the field, adding 3-3 from the line. Lamb shot a slightly more efficient 7-12 (1-3, 6-9) from the field with 2-2 from the line. For the third consecutive tournament game a different squad member led the scoring, which ought to make this a difficult squad to plan a defense. Three other Americans, Doug McDermott (15 points), Khyle Marshall of Butler (13 points) and Tim Hardaway (13 points) recorded double digit points. Four Yankees, McDermott, Patric Young, Marshall and Tony Mitchell shared high-rebounding honors by snaring eight apiece.

Picking apart the game boxscore to develop some possession-based stats for the game...


High 70s seems to be a comfortable pace for the American squad, this is the second game where they have played at that pace. The path to victory for this game was different enough to set this game apart. Team USA did not dominate the boards -- their 18.4% rebounding rate on the offensive boards a testament to their being out-rebounded heavily under their own basket. Today, the fact that Team USA and Team China grabbed the same number of rebounds (41) did not diminish the margin of victory, because they shot so well, 53.6% (eFG%) -- far better than their Chinese counterparts at 39.2% (eFG%) -- and valued the ball far better in this game than the previous two (13.8% turnover rate this game) and better than Team China (18.8 turnover rate).

Pools -- Summarizing the First Preliminary Round & Looking Ahead
Groups C & D standings at the end of preliminary round one...

Group C Group D
South Korea12China03

Team Canada stumbled again in Saturday play, losing to Lithuania, 68-111. The Canadians, despite being tied with Team South Korea at 1-2 (the South Koreans stunned Group C leader Croatia Saturday 75-71), advanced to Group F play on the tie-breaker (the Canadians beat South Korea 109-93 on Thursday), while the Koreans, along with Team China from Group D, were relegated to Classification play (placed #13 - #16). Team Serbia beat Team Egypt, 85-67, to advance to Group F play with a 2-1 record. The top three teams from Groups C & D advanced to Group F where they will play a second (preliminary) round of three games, all with teams that advanced from the other group. Group F standings going into play tomorrow...


The seeds are known, so the schedule for the second preliminary round will, for Team USA, look like this...

Monday, July 4Canada (C3)
Tuesday, July 5Lithuania (C2)
Wednesday, July 6Croatia (C1)

All tournament teams will rest Sunday, with play to resume Monday, July 4. Tournament action will move to Riga.

Bell Tones
Villanova's wing James Bell started his third game of the tournament and played 14 minutes against Team China. Bell scored two points on 1-3 (0-0, 1-3) shooting from the field and 0-0 from the line. Bell grabbed a rebound and a steal for Team USA.

Who's Got Next?
Team USA will face off against Team Canada in Riga, Latvia on Monday. Team USA and Team Canada have played six times in international competition since 2008, Team USA holding a 5-1 advantage.

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