USA Beats Brazil 99-67 in Quarterfinals
Aug. 26, 2001
BEIJING, China - The USA (4-0) used a smothering defensive effort to roll over South American rivals Brazil (1-2) 99-67 on Sunday night in the first game of the 2001 World University Games medal quarterfinals round in Beijing. University of Maryland standouts Lonny Baxter (Silver Spring, Md.) and Juan Dixon (Baltimore, Md.), along with Temple University's Lynn Greer (Philadelphia, Pa.) were credited with a combined 14 steals and 47 points.
Gonzaga University guard Dan Dickau played 14 minutes and had a pair of free throws, an assist and a steal. He went 0-for-4 from the floor, including 0-for-2 from 3-point range.
The United States, placed in quarterfinals Group K, along with Brazil, Great Britain (3-0) and South Korea (1-2), will continue play on Aug. 27 against Great Britain at 9:00 p.m. (all times local) and will close the quarterfinals round against South Korea on Aug. 28 at 7:00 p.m. The top team from Group K will then advance to the medal semifinals scheduled for Aug. 30 and the finals will be contested on Aug. 31. Great Britain downed South Korea 94-77 in tonight's second Group K contest.
The USA-Great Britain contest will match a pair of Gonzaga teammates against each other as Dickau faces Germayne Forbes.
"I told our guys that this would probably be the most athletic team that we've played thus far and certainly they had some guys who could score and do some things," said USA and Penn State University head coach Jerry Dunn. "Brazil's inside players did a real nice job, especially Leonardo Alves.
"One of the things we're going to have to do a better job of is executing our half court offense," added Dunn. We've done a better job in the past and certainly tonight was a little difference. We were able to get up and down the floor in transition a lot more tonight than we did in the last three games."
Dixon scored six points and Melvin Ely (Fresno State / Harvey, Ill.) notched five as the U.S. sprinted out to a 21-4 advantage six minutes into the game. The USA's defensive pressure forced Brazil into 2-of-12 shooting from the field and two turnovers in the opening minutes. However, Brazil was sent to the line five times for six points in the waning minutes of the first quarter, to help close the gap to 28-14 at the end of the first 10 minutes.
After the U.S. opened the second quarter with a 5-1 run to increase its lead to 33-15, Brazil went on a 14-4 run of its own to pull within eight, 37-29, with 4:17 to go in the half. Behind six points and a steal by Dixon, the U.S. sprang back with a 8-2 run to go up 45-31 at 2:36, but Brazil would not go away. The South Americans outscored the North Americans 7-4 and the United States took an 11-point, 49-38, advantage into the locker room.
"I thought it was a real good team effort on our part,"said Roger Mason, Jr. (Virginia / Silver Spring, Md.). "Brazil came out and played us real tough in the first half. Starting the second half we wanted to come out and play harder than they did and I think we did that."
Mason reeled off eight points as the United States posted a 14-6 run to open the third quarter, while forcing two Brazilian turnovers to earn a solid 63-44 buffer with 3:52 remaining in the third. By the end of the period, the USA's lead was 69-52.
The fourth quarter was all USA as it took off on a 17-5 scoring spree to dash any Brazilian comeback hopes and sailed in for the 99-67 victory.
Baxter and Mason each scored 20 points, while Greer checked in for 15, Chris Owens (Texas / Duncanville, Texas) scored 14 and Dixon finished with 12 points. Ely grabbed a game high 11 rebounds, while posting seven points and two blocked shots. Accounting for five steals apiece were Baxter and Greer, while Dixon was credited with four.
"As a team, we put together a great effort today," said Dixon. "We've had our problems in past games on the defensive game, but today we got it up. Brazil was a good team, they had a lot of guys who could put the ball on the floor. They had a lot of shooters. But we did our best to contain those guys and contest every shot. Personally I didn't play particularly well today. I missed a lot of easy shots, I was sloppy with the ball. In the next game I'll definitely perform better."
Brazil's Leonardo Alves scored a game high 25 points.
The United States shot 50.7 percent from the floor, while holding Brazil to just 34.3 percent from the field. The U.S. won the battle on the glass 41-31 and forced 25 Brazilian turnovers, 20 of which were U.S. steals. Additionally, the United States received 18 fast break points, while Brazil only managed two.
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 44 games, 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 1146 (.950 winning percentage) record at the event.
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