Aug. 11, 2011
Columbia, Mo. -
A slow start didn’t keep Team USA from cruising to an 88-61 win on Thursday as the Americans outscored New Century 71-38 over the final three quarters to earn the 27-point win in the final exhibition tune-up before pool play begins on Saturday.
New Century is a professional organization representing the Chinese Basketball Association and the USA opens the tournament action at the 2011 World University Games on Saturday with a 5 a.m. tip (locally in Missouri) vs. Mexico. China Standard time is 13 hours ahead of Central Time in the United States.
Missouri’s Marcus Denmon earned the start for Team USA and scored three points despite a tough 1-of-8 shooting day. Denmon did connect on a three-pointer in the win and dished an assist in 17 minutes of action.
Team USA was incredibly balanced with its playing time and no player logged more than 17 minutes. In fact 11-of-12 Americans reached that 17 minute plateau.
“We started off a little slow, but the coaching staff made some adjustments and we got going,” Denmon said. “John (Jenkins) was really shooting the ball great and once he had a couple of shots go through it allowed us to establish the tempo and get out in transition.”
As Denmon alluded to, Jenkins, Vanderbilt’s sharp-shooter, was the lone Team USA representative in double figures with 24 points. He hit 8-of-10 treys and 8-of-12 shots for the game. Syracuse’s Scoop Jardine had a game high seven assists.
“I thought this was a great game for our team to get ready for the World University Games,” Team USA Head Coach Matt Painter said. “(New Century) presented a lot of challenges for us, especially in the first half. With their size, they did a good job of corralling us, not letting us get going. But this was a great tune-up game for us. I thought our guys did a good job of adjusting. We went through a period of time in the first half where I thought we missed some open shots, and our guys didn't get frustrated. We did our best to sub players in and out to keep everybody fresh and wear down our opponent. After John (Jenkins) got hot and made some 3-pointers and we got out in transition a little bit more, I thought our depth was really the key to our victory.”
In all, 24 countries will compete in the international competition. The USA has been slotted into Pool D, along with Finland, Hungary, Israel, Mexico and South Korea. Following its contest against Mexico, the USA will play Hungary at 3:30 p.m. (all times listed are China Standard Time, which is +13 hours from Central Time) on Aug. 14; South Korea at 3:30 p.m. on Aug. 15; Finland at 6 p.m. on Aug. 17; and Israel at 3:30 p.m. on Aug. 18 to wrap up pool play.
“I think we are all looking forward to starting the tournament,” Denmon said. “I know Mexico will be fired up and they will play hard, but we are here on business and we just have to play our game and focus on the task at hand.”
Following the preliminary round, the top two teams from each pool will advance to the medal quarterfinals, which will be contested on Aug. 20. The semifinals are scheduled for Aug. 21, and the finals will be played on Aug. 22.