It its final tuneup before the World University Games begin on Thursday. the USA bounced back from a loss to earn a hard-fought defensive battle over Russia (1-2) by the score of 67-63.
"The guys got it done tonight with hustle opportunities," said USA and University of Wisconsin head coach Bo Ryan. "(Evan) Turner, (Robbie) Hummel and Deon (Thompson), those guys, especially at the end, they were everywhere. Corey (Fisher) and Talor Battle. I just really like the way they stuck their noses in there."
Butler scored Team USA's first hoop, and helped spark a 12-0 run midway through the second quarter that put his team up by 33-21. Drawing his third consecutive starting assignment, the WVU senior was 2-3 from the field while making all four of his free throw attempts in just 19 minutes of action. He also had one rebound and one assist.
"(Russia) is a very good team," Butler said afterward. "We watched them play against Serbia, and they pushed them to the limit. Going into the real games with a win will keep everybody's confidence up."
The United States is set to open World University Games play on July 3 against Finland (2:00 p.m. EDT) and faces South Korea on July 4 (2:00 p.m.). Second round action is scheduled for July 6-7, quarterfinals will be played July 9 and medal semifinals are slated for July 10. The gold medal will be contested on July 11 (3:00 p.m. EDT).