USA Basketball Tops Great Britain
Aug. 27, 2001
BEIJING, China - With the help of 21 points from Juan Dixon (Maryland / Baltimore, Md.) and 20 from Roger Mason (Virginia / Silver Spring, Md.), the USA Men's World University Games Team (5-0) came back from a 20-14 first quarter deficit to earn a 91-62 win over previously unbeaten Great Britain (3-1) on Monday night in Beijing. The win put the U.S. alone at the top of Group K standings.
The USA will close the medal quarterfinals round against against South Korea on Aug. 28 at 7:00 p.m.(local). 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.
The game included a matchup of Gonzaga University teammates Dan Dickau of the USA and Germayne Forbes of Great Britain. Neither player was much of a factor as both were held scoreless. Dickau played 14 minutes, went 0-for-6 from the floor including 0-for-3 from 3-point range. He had an assist. Forbes played 11 minutes and missed his only field goal attempt, a 3-pointer.
"Great Britain did a nice job early in the game," said USA and Penn State University head coach Jerry Dunn. "They came out very strong, they executed well in their half court offense. It was a well played first six to 10 minutes by Great Britain.
"Overall this was the best that we've played for four quarters, collectively, since we've been here," added Dunn. "Our defense has improved each night out, particularly in this pool play, and it's certainly something we're looking to do each night as the competition gets tougher."
After jumping out to a 7-2 lead in the first 2:54 of the game, the United States' shooting went cold and by the end of the first stanza the U.S. had spotted Great Britain a 20-14 lead. During the opening 10 minutes, the Americans shot a frigid 26.1 percent (6-23 FGs) from the floor, while the Brits connected on 50.0 percent (7-14 FGs) of their shots from the field to go up 20-14 at the first quarter buzzer.
The United States, which had never trailed in its first four games, turned to Mason in the second quarter as he fueled the USA's comeback. Mason, who scored 11 of his 14 second quarter points in a 13-3 run to open the period, helped put the USA back in the lead 27-23 with 5:40 to go in the half.
Following a 3-pointer by Great Britain, Dixon answered with a trey to spark a 16-2 U.S. scoring spree as the United States closed the half in command 43-28. The 3-pointer was one of three by Dixon during the run, while Chris Owens (Texas / Duncanville, Texas) accounted for four on 4-of-4 shooting from the charity stripe and Mason added an additional three. In contrast to its first quarter shooting, the United States made 52.9 percent (9-17 FGs) of its shots in the second period, which included five 3-pointers.
"No, not necessarily that," said Mason regarding whether he was feeling hot in the second quarter. "This team has a lot of great players and sometimes you have to feel your way through it. We were struggling offensively and needed some points and I felt like I could get them. They gave me some opportunities beyond the arc and I took advantage of it. Then when they came up on me, then I wanted to use my skills to go to the basket."
Great Britain never seriously threatened as the USA went up by 32 points, 72-40, to end the third quarter and with two seconds left in the game, 6-11 center Earl Barron (Memphis / Clarksdale, Miss.) stepped out for a 3-pointer to give the USA its final points of the contest.
"Every team we play comes out and gives us their all and we just have to match it," said Andre Barrett (Seton Hall / Bronx, N.Y.). "It might be like that for the first quarter, but in the second quarter we've come to realize that we're much stronger than the teams that we're playing and we have to step up and play our caliber of basketball."
In addition to the 41-point contribution by Dixon and Mason, Lonny Baxter (Maryland / Silver Spring, Md.) added 14 points. Melvin Ely (Fresno State / Harvey, Ill.) finished as the USA's leading rebounder with nine.
Great Britains's Michael Bernard posted a double-double with 19 points and a game high 13 rebounds, while Refilo Lethunya and Julius Joseph scored 16 and 12 points, respectively.
The USA finished the contest shooting 40.5 percent from the field, while Great Britain converted on 33.3 percent of its shots. The United States outrebounded the Brits 53-38 and forced 22 turnovers, while only committing 13 turnovers. Additionally, the Americans converted on 11 of 15 fast breaks and Great Britain notched just six points off the fast break.
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 multi-sport 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 45 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 115-6 (.950 winning percentage) record at the event.
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