Morrison Scores 7 Points In USA Win
July 26, 2004
SAINT JOHN'S, Newfoundland - Paced by Sean May's (North Carolina / Bloomington, Ind.) 16 points, the USA World Championship For Young Men Qualifying Team earned an 88-54 exhibition victory over the Canada Young Men's National Team Sunday in Saint John's, Newfoundland.
Played in front of 2,258 fans in the Harbour Station arena, the U.S. was further assisted by 15 points from Hassan Adams (Arizona / Los Angeles, Calif.), a double-double of 13 points and 11 rebounds from P.J. Tucker (Texas / Raleigh, N.C.), Justin Gray (Wake Forest / Charlotte, N.C.) scored 11 and Bracey Wright (Indiana / The Colony, Texas) chipped in 10.
The U.S. used today's game as a warm-up for the July 28-Aug. 1 2004 FIBA Americas World Championship For Young Men Qualifying Tournament, which will be held in Halifax, Canada.
Gonzaga University sophomore Adam Morrison went a perfect 3-for-3 from the field, including 1-for-1 from 3-point range, scored 7 points and grabbed 2 rebounds in 12 minutes off the bench.
"We're going to take (this game) and use it as our base," said USA and University of Oklahoma head coach Kelvin Sampson. "The key for us is getting better for the next game. I thought that we had some sloppy moments, but our shot selection was good. For our very first game, playing 40 minutes and having only nine turnovers ... I thought that was outstanding. But we've got guys who can play better. For us, in this thing, we've got to get better each game. You have to remember that we've had 12 or 13 practices and this is our first time in a game situation. This team can play a lot better. I thought we played good today, but not as good as we can play."
Getting off to a slow start, the U.S. found itself tied with Canada 5-5 at 6:27. After another minute elapsed, Charlie Villanueva (Connecticut / Brooklyn, N.Y.) slammed in a crowd-pleasing dunk at 5:27 that gave the USA a lead (7-5) it would never relinquish.
Villanueva's two points sparked a 14-0 run by the red, white and blue that opened the game up 19-5 with 1:16 to go in the first period. Canada finally stopped the run with a free throw by Kevin Francis at 1:02, but the damage had already been done. The USA scored the quarter's final five points, including a Mustafa Shakur (Arizona / Philadelphia, Pa.) 3-pointer at the buzzer and the U.S. held a commanding 24-6 advantage after 10 minutes of play.
The USA's early dominance was further underscored by a first quarter 17-7 rebounding advantage. Additionally, the USA, which shot 45.5 percent (10-22 FGs) in the first quarter, held Canada to a frigid 13.3 percent (2-15 FGs) from the field during that span.
Canada mounted a 6-1 run to start the second period, closing the gap to 25-12 at 7:40. After swapping buckets over the next 1:57, the U.S. was in the lead by 12, 31-19, at 5:43. However, Adams, who scored 11 first half points, registered six points and assisted a David Padgett (Louisville / Reno, Nev.) jumper during an 8-0 run to pull away 39-19 at 2:48.
"Today we wanted to open up the game with what coach has been stressing: transition D, having fun, trying to play together and come together as a team," said Adams. "I felt we did that in the first half, we got comfortable with each other quickly. That's what got us over the hump and gave us the advantage in the first half."
By halftime the game was well in hand, 45-22. Canada never recovered as the United States won the third (27-19) and fourth quarters (16-13) for the eventual 88-54 victory.
Garry Gallimore and the University of Kentucky's Sheray Thomas were credited for team highs of nine points for Canada.
The U.S. closed the game owning a 46-30 advantage on the glass. Its defensive pressure forced Canada into 26 turnovers and the Canadians finished the day shooting 33.9 percent (19-56 FGs) from the field, while the United States shot 44.6 (37-83 FGs).
"We have a lot of depth, athleticism and quickness," added Sampson on the strengths of his squad. "We're a good rebounding team, too. P.J. Tucker, Sean May, Curtis Withers, Hassan Adams, Charlie Villanueva, David Padgett, we've got some good rebounders. We're also athletic. We're quick enough to get our hands on some balls, get some steals and get a run going. But defense is how we're going to win this tournament, not offense."
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