USA Basketball Tops Germany For Bronze

Aug. 31, 2001

BEIJING, China - After a heartbreaking loss to China in the 2001 World University Games semifinal game on Thursday night, the 2001 USA Basketball Men's World University Games Team (7-1) came back to claim the bronze medal with an 80-78 victory over Germany (5-2) on Friday afternoon in Beijing, China.

Juan Dixon (Maryland / Baltimore, Md.), who averaged a team best 19.3 points a game during the tournament, poured in 26 points, 15 from beyond the arc, and Andre Barrett (Seton Hall / Bronx, N.Y.) iced a pair of free throws with 12.2 seconds to go to help lead the U.S. squad past the Germans. The United States, which has always advanced to the medal stand in 17 World University Games has now earned 12 golds, three silvers and two bronze medals, while compiling an overall record of 117-7 (.944 winning percentage) since beginning World University Games play in 1965.

Gonzaga University guard Dan Dickau played 13 minutes, going 1-for-5 from the field, 0-for-2 from 3-point range, scoring two points and grabbing one steal.

"We were disappointed because of our loss yesterday, we wanted to win the gold." Dickau said. "But I think it showed a lot of maturity and character on our part, each one of us, to come out and to finish it off like we did today even though it was a tough game down the stretch."

"This was a real gutty performance on the part of our players," said USA and Penn State University head coach Jerry Dunn. "Last night was a very emotional and hard fought game. And a very tough one to lose. Any time that happens, you're very vulnerable to a let down. I'm very proud of the way our guys came out and showed an awful lot of character and fortitude."

With 6:34 remaining in the contest the United States held an 11-point, 76-65, upper hand. Germany then began to put the pressure on defensively, while its offense chipped away at the gap and at 3:07, the U.S. lead had been trimmed to 76-75. Roger Mason, Jr. (Virginia / Silver Spring, Md.) made two free throws at 2:44 to increase it to 78-75. Over the next two minutes neither team was able to convert and with 44 seconds to go Germany's Lars Grubler, who finished the game shooting 13-of-16 from the charity stripe, was sent to the line and made good on both attempts. A 3-point attempt by Dixon hit the rim and Chris Owens (Texas / Duncanville, Texas) beat the Germans to the rebound and quickly passed it outside to Barrett as the clock wound down.

"I just wanted to win the game," said Owens on why he kicked it out instead of attempting another shot. "It was tight, we were struggling to hit shots so at the time I just wanted push it out to let the time run out."

Barrett held onto the pass and was chased around before being fouled by the Germans with 12.2 seconds to go. Dunn called for a time out and when the teams returned to the floor, Barrett swished in both attempts to make it a three-point game, 80-77.

"Under normal circumstances I would have called a time out after he made the two free throws, but you can't do that with the international rules," stated Dunn. "So I wanted to make sure that we understood what the situation was. There were 12 seconds left on the clock, we were up by one and I wanted to make sure these guys knew what all the scenarios were going to be so we could set up our defense. I felt confident that Andre would make at least one of them and that was really important. I knew we didn't want to give up a three going down on the other end, so it was an opportune time to call the time out."

"The first thing I thought was that if I missed these, we probably wouldn't get a medal and everybody would be upset at me back home," said Barrett on making both his free throws with 12.2 seconds to go. "I didn't want to let the team down. Coach did a good thing by calling the time out. I had time to think about it and take a deep breath before going out there and knocking down the shots."

The United States pressured Germany and with two tenths of a second left on the clock, Lynn Greer (Temple / Philadelphia, Pa.) stumbled and ran into Germany's Pascal Roller, sending him to the line. After making his first, Roller intentionally missed the second and Germany came up with the rebound, but time expired with the U.S. holding onto the bronze medal and the 80-78 victory.

"They were getting pretty physical with us (toward the end of the game)," said Dixon. "But we maintained our composure, stuck with it and came away with the win."

Germany jumped out to a 16-6 lead in the first 4:28 of the contest and the United States spent the rest of the first quarter battling back into the game and by the time the first quarter was over, the U.S. trailed 22-19. The Americans put on the defensive pressure in the second quarter and Germany was unable to convert on its first nine possessions and with 6:00 to go in the half the USA was on top 30-22. At 4:29 the USA was up 33-25, but Germany began to make a comeback and cut the gap to 40-39 at halftime.

The third quarter saw four lead changes and two knotted scores before the USA took the lead for good after Barrett went coast to coast to give the USA a 51-50 edge with 4:52 to go in the third. The Americans, who received a pair of treys apiece from Dixon and Greer in the third quarter's final minutes, never again trailed and at the end of 30 minutes held a 69-59 upper hand. The United States upped its lead to 75-63 at the 7:28 mark in the fourth, but at 6:43, Earl Barron (Memphis / Clarksdale, Miss.) fouled out of the game and Germany notched another two points from the line to make it 75-65.

In addition to Dixon's 24 points, the United States' bronze medal effort was aided by 13 from Mason, and Melvin Ely (Fresno State / Harvey, Ill.) and Greer pitched in 10 points apiece. Ely grabbed a team high seven rebounds and he and Dixon notched three steals apiece.

The United States shot just 39.7 percent from the field, while Germany was accurate on 46.0 percent of its shots. The USA held a slim 35-34 rebounding edge and forced 19 turnovers, while only committing nine of its own.

Lonny Baxter (Maryland / Silver Spring, Md.), who averaged an even 15 points a game through the first six games, was sick with gastroenteritis and did not play.

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.

 

 

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