Tuesday July 7, 2009
AUCKLAND, New Zealand -- Georgia's Trey Thompkins again paced the USA Men's U19 Team with 14 points and nine rebounds as the Americans cruised past Puerto Rico 82-61 in the FIBA U19 World Championships here Tuesday night.
The win insured the USA of the No. 1 seed for the Second Round Group E for the July 10 medal round quarterfinals. The U.S. will face the Group F No. 4 seeded team, a team still to be determined. The United States will wrap up
its second-round play Wednesday, facing European power Lithuania in a 7:30 p.m. (Auckland local time) game.
The U.S. blew the game wide open with a 24-2 run that covered the last 2:41
of the first quarter and the first 5:12 of the second quarter. During the
game deciding run Ashton Gibbs and Seth Curry each tallied six points,
Terrico White of Ole Miss contributed five points, and Thompkins added four
more in the massive run.
The USA's clash against Puerto Rico was a game in which the USA never
trailed. Although the red, white and blue squad shot just 36.5 percent from
the field overall, and made only 29.4 percent (10-34 3pt FGs) from 3-point,
the U.S. had the 3-ball falling early and quickly ended all suspense for
Klay Thompson opened the game's scoring with a three and added a second at the 6:43 mark to help the U.S. take an 8-4 lead. Puerto Rico evened the
score at 11 after Mike Rasario, who plays at Rutgers University, drained
3-pointer. That was the last moment of hope for the Puerto Rican squad.
Outscoring Puerto Rico 9-2 over the final 2:31 of the opening quarter to
grab control 20-13, the Americans opened the second quarter by scoring 15
straight points to take full control 35-13. Of Puerto Rico's six points in
the second period, four came on free throws as the islanders made just
1of-16 shots from the field.
Leading comfortably at halftime 43-19, the USA lead hovered around 20 points for the remainder of the game as Puerto Rico offensively was continually harassed by the USA defense. Puerto Rico star guard Rasario, who scored 54 points (18-29 FGs, 9-13 3pt FGs, 9-10 FTs) in his team's last second 90-89 win over France on Monday, managed to score just 11 points on 4-of-15 shooting.