July 4, 2009
AUCKLAND, New Zealand--Despite being over 6500 mile from the shores of the United States, the USA Men's Under-19 team (3-0) celebrated the Fourth of July with an explosive 112-55 rout of Egypt (1-2) Saturday afternoon in Auckland, New Zealand. Paced by Ashton Gibbs' (Pittsburgh / Scotch Plains, N.J.) 18 points, seven U.S. players scored in double-digits as the USA improved its record to 3-0.
The win earned the USA squad Group B's No. 1 seed as it advances into the July 6-8 Second Round. Advancing to form Group E for the Second Round are the United States, France and Egypt from Group B, Greece, Puerto Rico and Lithuania from Group A. Moving on to form Group F for the second round is Australia, Spain and Canada from Group C, and Argentina, Croatia and New Zealand from Group D. Following a day off, the action resumes July 6 with the United States taking on Greece (7:30 p.m. NZ TBA). The USA will conclude the Second Round action by facing Puerto Rico on July 7 and Lithuania on July 8. Teams finishing in first through fourth places in the two second round groups will qualify for the quarterfinals, with the opportunity to advance to the semifinals and finals. Teams finishing in fifth and sixth places in Groups E and F will play for ninth through 12th places. The quarterfinals will be held on July 10, semifinals are slated for July 11 and the gold medal game will be contested on July 12.
Gibbs played 18 minutes off the bench and registered team-highs of 18 points and six assists. He also converted 8-11 field goals and hit 2-4 3-pointers. In the USA's three contests, Gibbs leads the USA team in scoring (12.7 points per game) and assists (12) and has converted 53.3 percent (16-30) of his field goal attempts and 40 percent (6-15 of his 3-point attempts. He scored 10 points in each of the team's first two contests and led the Americans with his 18-point outburst vs. Egypt.
"We handled things well today," said USA head coach Jamie Dixon. "We knew this was a game that we should win. What I was impressed with was the focus and determination we showed today. One of our goals was to finish the preliminary round with our group's No. 1 seed and we achieved that today. Another goal of ours is to continue to improve throughout the tournament and over the last two games I think we have, especially defensively."
The USA started quickly. Shelvin Mack (Butler / Lexington, Ky.) scored five points and Terrico White (Mississippi / Memphis, Tenn.) added four as the U.S. took control early 9-2. With 5:01 left in the first quarter and the USA leading 14-6, Gibbs, who had 12 points in the first half, accounted for seven points in a span of 1:11 to help push the American advantage to 24-8.
Closing out the quarter fully in charge 33-11, the U.S. shot 13-of-20 from the floor and committed just a lone turnover in the game's first 10 minutes.
It was more of the same in the second stanza. Receiving point production from seven different players, the USA opened the quarter with a 20-4 scoring barrage and its lead ballooned to 53-15 with 4:58 left to play. By halftime, the red, white and blue had taken a 62-24 lead and cruised on in for the 112-55 victory.
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