USA U21 wins Global Games

FRISCO, Texas -- In a total team effort that saw each team member score at least four points apiece, the USA U21 World Championship Team, with LSU sophomore Glen Davis on the team, ran away with a 104-62 victory over Team Texas to capture the 2005 Global Games gold medal late Saturday night at the Dr. Pepper Star Center in Frisco, Texas.

Taj Gray (Oklahoma / Wichita, Kan.) and J.J. Redick (Duke / Roanoke, Va.) paced the U.S. squad to victory with 15 points apiece. Justin Gray (Wake Forest / Charlotte, N.C.), who averaged 13.8 ppg. in the tournament, and Lithuania's Arturas Jomantas earned Global Games Co-MVP honors, while Redick, Terrence Roberts (Syracuse / Jersey City, N.J.) and Curtis Withers (Charlotte / Charlotte, N.C.) were named to the 2005 Global Games All-Tournament Team. Joining the four U.S. players on the All-Tourney list were Ahmed Guoye (Texas), Domen Lorbek (Slovenia), Oleksiy Pecherov (Ukraine) and Marcus Williams (Global Games Select).

The United States used the 2005 Global Games as a tune-up for the 2005 FIBA U21 World Championship, scheduled to be played Aug. 5-14 in Cordoba and Mar del Plata, Argentina.

"I think that this is a team that really shares the ball. They're getting a feel for that," said USA and Saint Joseph's University (Pa.) head coach Phil Martelli. "But I'm still concerned about turnovers. We've got too many turnovers for this level of players. I also think our rebounding needs to improve immediately or we're going to be in trouble in Argentina."

Davis scored four points in the game, on 2-of-8 field goal shooting, but he for the third time in four games had three steals and had his tournament best six rebounds.

Of the tournament Davis said, "It was pretty good competition. In the game against Lithuania (Friday, a rallying 91-86 US victory) I think one of God's angels must have come down and lifted us up. Lithuania is a great team. Like I said, we have a long way to go in order to win the gold. There are a lot of great teams over there that will be better teams, teams that have been playing together more. We're going to have to bring it together in order for us to be successful.

"Great chemistry takes time and we're going to have to find a way to get it," the SEC Freshman of the Year from Baton Rouge said. "We need to go to the movies or something, keep hanging out, it's chemistry. Time will tell. When the chips are on the line and our backs are against the wall I think we'll gel and become a great team."

The United States jumped out early and Texas was never able to recover.

However, the Texans were never really out of it in the first half due to collecting 13 points from the line.

Justin Gray scored eight points in the USA's opening 12-2 run that ended at 6:33 with a Nick Fazekas (Nevada / Arvada, Colo.) basket inside. Texas hit its first field goal at 6:18, followed by another pair of free throws at 5:39. But Rudy Gay (Connecticut / Baltimore, Md.) swished a three, followed by a Marcus Williams (Connecticut / Los Angeles, Calif.) steal, which he fed to Gay inside for a slam dunk. At 3:32 Gay finished his 6-0 run after connecting on his second charity shot and the USA was up 18-6. By the end of the first period the United States led by 10, 23-13.

Increasing its lead in a second quarter that saw Team Texas hit just four field goals, the United States closed the half with a 45-30 advantage. Trips to the line kept the game relatively close in the first half as, despite its frigid 25.0 percent shooting (8-31 FGs), Texas capitalized on 13-of-19 attempts from the line in the first 20 minutes.

Eugene Spates paced his Texas squad with 16 points.

The U.S. had its best shooting night of the four-game tournament hitting a sizzling 54.8 percent (40-73 FGs) overall, 50.0 percent (11-22 3pt FGs) from 3-point, and held Texas to a paltry 29.0 percent (18-62 FGs) from the field. However, the squad faltered from the line, shooting just 52.0 percent (13-25 FTs) as compared to Texas' 79.3 percent (23-29 FTs). Winning the battle of the boards 50-29, the U.S. collected 19 offensive caroms. The young Americans also passed off for 23 assists on 40 field goals.

The U.S. took a well deserved day off on Sunday and following a 10:30 a.m. practice on Monday at Collins Community College, the American team will travel to Mar del Plata, Argentina, for its final practices before tipping off play at the 2005 FIBA U21 World Championship against China on Aug. 5 at 2:30 p.m. The United States will then face Lithuania on Aug. 6 at 1:30 p.m. and Puerto Rico on Aug. 7 at 5:30 p.m. After a day off, the USA is slated to face Nigeria on Aug. 9 at 2:00 p.m. and will close out preliminary round play on Aug. 10 with an 11:45 a.m. contest against Slovenia. The quarterfinals, semifinals and finals will be played Aug. 12-14.

The Aug. 5-14 2005 FIBA Men's U21 World Championship will consist of 12 national teams split into two groups for preliminary round-robin play. The top four teams in each group will advance to the medal quarterfinals, while the 5th and 6th place finishing teams in each group will compete for 9th-12th place.

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