USA Basketball Topples Iran 112-50
Aug. 22, 2001
BEIJING, China - The USA (1-0) opened 2001 World University Games preliminary round play by overpowering Iran (0-1) 112-50. Three players scored in double digits, including University of Maryland's Lonny Baxter (Silver Spring, Md.), who notched a game high 27 points on 10-of-13 shooting from the field. Next up for the U.S. is South Africa (0-1) on Aug. 23 and the United States is slated to close preliminary action against Turkey (1-0) on Aug. In Group B today, Turkey defeated South Africa 86-70. The top two teams from each preliminary round group will advance to the medal quarterfinals round, slated to be played Aug. 26-28 with the semifinals slated for Aug. 30 and the finals will be contested on Aug. 31.
Gonzaga University guard Dan Dickau scored 9 points in 21 minutes. He went 4-for-10 from the field, 0-for-4 from 3-point range, 1-for-1 from the free thorw line and had one assist.
"We wanted to make sure that we got off to a good start," said USA and Penn State University head coach Jerry Dunn. "We wanted to share the ball on the offensive end and we also wanted to improve defensively, not only on the full court, but in the half court area. I thought this was a good game for us to play a lot of people and get our feet wet. I'd like to be able to think that at different times we'll have to depend on different guys. For them to be able to get some game experience under their belts, under this type of atmosphere and competition, is really important. I also thought we did a good job of sharing the basketball. It also gave us a chance to have a better appreciation of how we have to guard people and what they're looking to do on an international level as opposed to the way the game is played in the States."
After earning the opening tip, Melvin Ely (Fresno State / Harvey, Ill.) passed off to Roger Mason (Virginia / Silver Spring, Md.) for a 3-pointer at 934 and the U.S. was off and running. Behind seven points from Juan Dixon (Maryland / Baltimore, Md.), the USA sprinted out to a 15-6 lead with less than five minutes expired in the contest and at 349, the lead was 22-8. By that point, the USA's defense had notched four steals and forced an additional three turnovers. Receiving five points from Baxter, the United States closed the initial quarter with an 11-6 run and at the end of the first 10 minutes of play the gap had ballooned to 33-13.
"We're happy to get on the court," said Dixon. "We were excited to be out there. We came out here to China to play basketball and finally got started today. We were very unselfish out there, we've got our chemistry going and hopefully we can keep it going. If we keep on playing the way we did today, passing the ball and playing together, it will take us far."
Outscoring Iran 22-6 in the second quarter, the U.S. owned an insurmountable 55-19 halftime advantage. The United States won the third quarter 30-18 and sailed through the fourth for the eventual 112-50 victory.
Every USA player scored and in addition to Baxter's 27 points in 17 minutes of action, the U.S. received 20 points from Dixon and 11 from Lynn Greer (Temple / Philadelphia, Pa.). Antwain Barbour (Wabash Valley / Elizabethtown, Ky.) nabbed four steals to go with his eight points, nine rebounds and three assists.
The U.S., which shot an even 50 percent from the field (42-84 FGs), held Iran to a frigid 31.1 percent (19-61 FGs) of its shots from the field. The United States dominated in every category, outrebounding Iran 55-29, while forcing 16 turnovers on 11 steals.
Dunn is being assisted on the sidelines by collegiate head coaches Rod Barnes from the University of Mississippi and Al Skinner from Boston College (Mass.).
The World University Games, held every two years, is a multisport competition open to athletes between the ages of 17 and 28 (born between Jan. 1, 1973 and Dec. 31, 1983), who are, or have been within the past year, a student at a college or university.
With the win, the U.S. improved its winning streak at the World University Games to 41, dating back to the 1989 WUGs. Having captured six consecutive gold medals, the USA has been a dominating force at the WUGs since beginning play in 1965. The U.S. has earned an incredible 16 medals in as many appearances at the Games, including 12 golds, three silvers and one bronze, and lists an amazing 1106 (.984 winning percentage) record at the event.
In other preliminary round action today, Greece beat Angola 63-43, Yugoslavia surpassed Ukraine 94-66, Sweden topped South Korea 83-62, Great Britain defeated its former colony Hong Kong 83-67, the Czech Republic thumped Lebanon 113-61 and Germany bested Peru 107-56. China is scheduled to play the Virgin Islands and Japan will face Nigeria in the day's final games.
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