Monday, July 4, 2011

FIBA U19 World Championship -- USA Hammers Canada, Stays Undefeated at 4-0

USA 83 Canada 54
Team USA built a comfortable seven point lead, 21-14, over Team Canada in the first period but blew the game open by tacking another 16 points on to that lead in the second period, 25-9, to double up Team Canada, 46-23 going into the half. Villanova's James Bell broke out of his shooting slump to post a game-high 16 points on 6-9 (4-6, 2-3) shooting from the field. Bell did not get to the line, but the 6-5 wing became the fourth different USA player to lead the squad. For the four tournament games a different player has led the squad, three times pacing both squads in scoring. One other American, Doug McDermott (10 points) posted double-digit points as all 12 members of the squad logged double-digit minutes of playing time, and none played more than 20 minutes total. Tony Mitchell nabbed a game-high nine rebounds, with Bell just behind with eight and two other Yanks, Patric Young and Meyers Leonard, with seven apiece. Team Canada was paced by center Sim Bhullar's 15 points on 7-10 shooting from the field and 1-4 from the line. Bhullar is a 7-4 fifth year player at Huntington Prep in West Virginia. 6-4 guard Junior Lomomba and 6-6 small forward Dyshawn Pierre recorded 11 apiece. Bhullar paced the Canadians with seven rebounds, while Pierre nabbed six.

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


After two games of possessions in the 70s, Team USA kicked it back up into the 80s, most likely resulting from poor shooting efficiency (note the less than sterling eFG%, the Americans shot 33-75 from the field, and, Bell's contribution discounted, a paltry 4-18 from beyond the arc) and slightly higher (but not especially alarming) turnover rate. The key for this and the previous three games has been defense. Team USA has held their opponents to 0.80 points per possession (ppp) with shot conversion efficiency (eFG%) in the high 30s. That is outstanding defense, and coupled with strong board work, has allowed the Americans to win three of the four games by 16 or more points.

Other Group F Play Today


The Lithuania-Serbia score, coupled with the earlier disappointing outing versus the Lithuanians, should be cause for concern for Team USA going into tomorrow's showdown. With a 3-1 record, the Lithuanians have to know a loss tomorrow will put a second loss on them going into the medal rounds. A win over Team USA will assure them (should they not lose again in preliminary play) of the top seed out of Group F.

Bell Tones
Villanova's wing James Bell logged 20 minutes of play and led the team in scoring with 16 points, as he started his fourth consecutive game for Team USA. Bell grabbed eight rebounds, one less than team leading Tony Mitchell in 20 minutes of play. He had a single personal foul, good news as fouls have been a cause for concern the past 2-3 games.

One of Bell's points was a dunk on a feed from guard Anthony Brown of Stanford. Looks like he has his bounce back.

Who's Got Next?
Team USA will have a rematch with Team Lithuania in Riga, Latvia on Tuesday. Team USA and Team Lithuania have played six times in international competition since 1997, Team USA holding a 4-2 advantage. These two squads faced off in Team USA's second exhibition game on June 28. Team Lithuania clobbered the Americans by 33 points (108-75) in a game that had had some wondering if this squad would be competitive in this U19 tournament.

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