USA U19 Team Routs Poland 84-47
July 9, 2011 • Riga, Latvia
Getting points from all 12 players including a game best 19 points from Doug McDermott (Creighton/Ames, Iowa) the USA U19 World Championship Team rebounded impressively from Friday’s gold medal ending quarterfinals loss to rout Poland (4-4) 84-47 in Saturday’s consolation semifinals.
Owing a 6-2 overall record, the United States will conclude the 2011 FIBA U19 World Championship facing Australia (6-2) Sunday in a game to decide fifth and sixth place. Australia manhandled Croatia 90-63 in Saturday’s other consolation round semifinal. Sunday’s USA-Australia game time will be announced by FIBA following conclusion of tonight’s last game.
“I’m very pleased for our guys. They came out and played with great intensity from the beginning and did a very good job defensively. I thought we turned the ball over a little too much in the first half, but in the second half I thought our focus and concentration was very good,” said USA and George Mason head coach Paul Hewitt.
In addition to McDermott’s game high, Patric Young (Florida/Jacksonville, Fla.) accounted for 13 points on 6-of-7 shooting and added six rebounds. Jeremy Lamb (Connecticut/Norcross, Ga.) was credited with 12 points, five rebounds and four assists, while Meyers Leonard (Illinois/Robinson, Ill.) recorded 12 points on 6-of-8 shooting, eight rebounds and three blocked shots.
USA forward Tony Mitchell (North Texas/Dallas, Texas) grabbed nine rebounds and terrorized Poland by blocking four shots. Mitchell’s four blocked shots ties a USA U19 single game record which has been accomplished by four others and was last done by John Shurna versus Canada in 2009 (7/10/09). Guard Joe Jackson (Memphis/Memphis, Tenn.) led everyone in rebounding with 10, including four offensive.
The U.S., after allowing Russia 12 made 3-points in the loss less than 24 hours earlier, stepped up its defense right from the start of Saturday’s contest. Trailing 9-8 with 5:26 left in the first quarter, McDermott scored five points and the Americans closed out the quarter riding an 11-2 run that saw them take a 19-11 lead.
Continuing to limit Poland’s looks on the offensive end, the USA got points from four different players as it opened the second quarter scoring the first seven points to push its lead to 26-11. The USA defense stymied Poland and Poland did not score its first points of the second stanza until the 4:24 mark and by intermission the USA advantage was standing at 15, 36-21.
Poland shot just 20.9 percent (9-43) in the first half and was held to 2-of-16 shooting from beyond the 3-point line. The USA also controlled the backboards and at the halfway point owned a 36-23 advantage.
Whatever sliver of hope Poland held for a comeback were extinguished quickly by the U.S. in the third quarter.
Just 27 seconds into the third quarter McDermott cleanly drained a 3-point look, then 28 seconds later, drained another 3-ball from virtually the same spot. McDermott added a score inside for his eighth straight point of the quarter and from there the USA was off to the races. By the end of the third period the Americans were in full control and leading 61-32.
The USA lead in the fourth quarter ballooned to 42 points, 80-38, before the Americans settled for the 84-47 win.
“We set a tone early, especially defensively,” stated Creighton University forward McDermott. “We held them to a low shooting percentage the whole game and we did a really good job in the second half of not letting them get to the offensive boards after they had eight in the first half. We did a really good job of sharing the ball and shared a lot of fun today as a group.
“It felt good to hit one there and get me going,” added McDermott about his made 3-pointer that started the third quarter. “It definitely boosted my confidence and I think I hit another one right after that so just to get our team going in the second half and off to an 8-0 run felt good. It was a good win for us.”
The USA finished the day shooting 50.0 percent (38-76 FGs) from the field, and dominated the glass outrebounding Poland 59-41. The USA’s defensive effort resulted in Poland making just 24.4 percent of its tries from the field overall, including just 4-of-27 attempts from 3-point.
“For me it wasn’t really hard to get ready for the game because I’m just trying to get better and I thought yesterday I got in a groove and I’m trying to keep it going. As far as the other guys, they were ready to go too,” said Leonard. “It’s hard coming off a loss knowing you can’t get the gold medal, but I’m just happy with the way everyone played, we competed and we played really hard.
“I was starting to get down on myself a little,” stated Leonard about his revived play in the tournament. “But I’ve kind of got my confidence back, got my groove back. I’ve started getting back into my style, getting up and down and be a high energy guy and I think that’s all coach wanted from me – to bring a lot of energy and I wasn’t doing that at the beginning but I am now. I’m just finding my groove and playing my hardest.”
Assisting Hewitt on the U.S. sidelines are collegiate head coaches Randy Bennett of St. Mary’s College and Cliff Warren of Jacksonville University.