Bouldin Scores 7 As USA Wins Gold
July 8, 2007
DALLAS - With the USA Men's U19 World Championship Team in the midst of a tight gold medal contest in the Global Games Saturday night, 6-8 center and University of North Carolina sophomore Deon Thompson (Torrance, Calif.) took matters into his own hands and scored six points in a decisive 10-0 USA run that helped propel the team to an 86-72 victory.
Thompson finished with 13 points and 10 rebounds as the USA wrapped up the Global Games with a perfect 3-0 mark and improved its overall exhibition mark to 4-0.
The USA U19 squad, which was selected June 30 after team trials were conducted with 18 hopefuls, leaves Sunday for Serbia where it will represent the United States in the 2007 FIBA U19 World Championship (players must be born on or after Jan. 1, 1988) that is being held July 12-22 in Novi Sad, Serbia.
The U.S. opens world championship play July 12 facing Mali in the opening game of the preliminary round, then meets China on July 13 and closes out preliminary round play against host Serbia on July 14. Second round play takes place July 16-18; quarterfinals are being held July 20; semifinals action is July 21; and finals are slated for July 22.
"I think it was good for us to have a tighter game, we're still mixing and matching out there. I was really encouraged with the play of (Gonzaga University sophomore) Matt Bouldin; certainly David Lighty and Patrick Beverley have been so solid throughout this whole tournament; and it was also good to see Deon Thompson play strong, he played really, really well too," said USA mentor Jerry Wainwright.
Bouldin playd a tournament high 22 minutes, scored a tourney-high 7 points on 3-for-9 from the field and 1-for-2 from the free throw line while grabbing 5 rebounds and handing out an assist. In the four games the U19 squad has played - one exhibition and the three games in the Global Games - Bouldin is averaging 3.8 ppg, 17.3 minutes/game, is 6-for-25 from the field for 24.0 percent, 2-for-10 from 3-point range for 20.0 percent and is 1-for-2 from the free throw line. He has grabbed 16 rebounds for 4.0 rpg and has 7 assists, 7 turnovers and a pair of steals.
"The one thing that Deon does right now that our other post players don't do is he demands the ball. Deon really has a good post up game and he has a lot of moves that bother bigger players. He's also a good passer. He's going to be more important now, especially with (Darrell) Arthur's injury.
"We're an engine right now that needs a big tuneup. We were headed in the right direction but Arthur's injury caused us to go in another direction. I don't think we have any flow right now, there's not a lot of continuity especially on the offensive end. But I think we're really trying to guard and when we're out on transition we're trying to do the right things and those things will be key for us," added the DePaul head coach.
"Hopefully some of the guys who maybe didn't have all the big numbers in those first two blowouts got their confidence and it showed that we can win with certain lineups that maybe didn't think we could."
The U.S. jumped out to 6-0 and 9-4 leads, before the Global Games All-American Team got things in gear, then, after outscoring the U.S. 10-3, took a 14-12 lead.
The USA countered and regained the lead 19-12 riding a 7-0 run that was capped by a three from Tajuan Porter (Oregon / Detroit, Mich.). Clinging to a 21-17 advantage with 2:29 left in the opening quarter, the U.S. got points from five different players, including threes from Patrick Beverley (Arkansas / Chicago, Ill.) and Stephen Curry (Davidson / Charlotte, N.C.), and scored the final 10 points of the quarter to grab control 31-17 after one period.
Continuing its run, the USA added the first four points of the second quarter and its lead quickly reached 17, 36-19, with 7:53 remaining before halftime.
But points suddenly became hard to come by for the USA, and Global Games AA closed out the second stanza with a 10-5 scoring run that cut the USA's lead to 41-32 at halftime.
The USA owned a 10-point advantage, 54-44 with 4:35 left in the third, but the Global Games squad went on a 10-2 rally to pull within two, 56-54 with 1:10 remaining the third stanza.
Jonny Flynn (Niagara Falls H.S. / Niagara Falls, N.Y.) completed a traditional three point play to give the Americans a little more breathing room, then the guard who will play at Syracuse in 2007-08 sank one of two free throws, and with :08 left in the quarter feed David Lighty (Ohio State / Cleveland, Ohio) for a basket that cushioned the U.S. to 62-56 with just 10 minutes remaining to be played.
Global Games AA scored the first points of the final quarter to cut the gap to 62-58, but the U.S. behind Thompson's six points and four point from Lighty, distanced itself from its opponent with a 10-0 spurt that left the USA in charge 72-58 with 6:50 left.
Global Games AA wasn't able to get the lead below nine the rest of the way as the Americans pushed in for the 86-72 win.
"When I got in there I just went hard and tried to help the team. As I was in there longer I felt myself start to get into the flow of the game and my shots started to fall," Thompson said. "I think we've progressed really well. We all have good chemistry out there, on and off the court so that helps a lot. We just have to keep practicing and stick together. "You have to realize that everybody on this team from one to twelve is talented, everybody can play basketball. So there has to be the mentality that you've got to be patient and that we're in this together."
In addition to Thompson's double-double effort, Beverley finished with an impressive line of 12 points, five rebounds, four assists and three steals. Lighty was credited with 11 points and six rebounds, Michael Beasley (Notre Dame Prep, Mass./ Frederick, Md.) and DeAndre Jordan (Bellaire Episcopal H.S. / Humble, Texas) each accounted for 10 points. Global Games AA was paced by 15 points from Brockeith Payne and Mike Singletary.
In other Global Games action Saturday, Argentina held off Africa 54-50 to claim the bronze medal, while the Junior College All-Stars upended Puerto Rico 84-77 to stake a claim on fifth place.
Wainwright, who served as an assistant for the 2006 USA U18 National Team, is leading the 2007 USA U19 World Championship Team, and collegiate head coaches Bruiser Flint of Drexel University (Pa.) and George Washington University's (D.C.) Karl Hobbs are serving as assistant coaches.
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