Team USA Moves To 4-0

Team USA got 22 points from forward Howard Thompkins and scoring from 10 other players to overpower Greece 85-69 in FIBA Under-19 World Championship play Monday night in Aukland, New Zealand.

Howard Thompkins (Georgia / Lithonia, Ga.) made 10 of 14 shots for Team USA (4-0) against Greece (2-2), while additional scoring for Pittsburgh coach Jamie Dixon's squad came from Gordon Hayward (Butler / Brownsburg, Ind.) with nine points, Seth Curry (Duke / Charlotte, N.C.), Shelvin Mack (Butler / Lexington, Ky.), John Shurna (Northwestern / Glen Ellyn, Ill.), Ashton Gibbs (Pitt / Scotch Plains, N.J.) and Tyshawn Taylor (Kansas / Jersey City, N.J.) added eight points each.

Gibbs, a sophomore this fall for the Panthers, canned 2 of 4 shots from 3-point range, recorded a steal and blocked shot in 24 minutes off the bench. Through four games, Gibbs averages 22. minutes, 11.5 points and 3.5 assists per game.

Second-round play continues Tuesday with the USA squaring off against Puerto Rico (4-1) in a 7:30 p.m. (Auckland local time) matchup.

The U.S. led 13-9 with 5:05 remaining in the first quarter with six points by Thompkins, but Greece went on an 8-1 run to take a 17-14 advantage 3:15 later. However, Shurna got a put-back, and Curry hit two free throws to give Team USA an 18-17 lead after one.

Greece opened the second quarter with an 8-2 run to go ahead 25-20, but the U.S. got four points by Thompkins in an 8-0 surge to take a 28-25 advantage with 6:35 remaining before halftime. Tied 33-33 with 2:40 showing on the clock, the U.S. closed out the first half with 3-pointers from Gibbs and Shurna, and added a steal and lay-up by Klay Thompson (Washington State / Ladera Ranch, Calif.) to outscore Greece 8-2 for a 41-36 lead at halftime.

Going back inside to open the third quarter, Thompkins scored four of the USA's first six points and the Americans made 7 of 9 free throws during a 17-6 scoring run that saw its lead pushed to 16 points, 58-42, with 5:08 left in the third quarter. Greece actually cut the lead to eight, 61-53, but two free throws from Hayward gave the U.S. a 10-point cushion (63-53) after three.

Leading 71-63 with 4:20 to play, the USA victory was sealed by a 12-2 run that was capped by a Gibbs' 3-pointer that propelled the USA lead to 83-64 with 1:47 left.

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