July 7, 2009
AUCKLAND, New Zealand - The United States clinched No. 1 seed in Group E, as it and Australia, featuring Washington State University men's basketball members, both remained undefeated Tuesday NZDT (Monday/Tuesday PDT) at the FIBA U19 World Championship.
The USA (5-0) defeated second-place Puerto Rico (3-2) in Group E action, while Australia (5-0) came out on top against third-place Argentina (3-2) in Group F. The Americans hold a two-game lead over the four teams tied for second in Group E. Australia is tied with Croatia for the lead in Group F, as both remain undefeated.
WSU rising-sophomore Klay Thompson (Ladera Ranch, Calif.) got the start for the U.S., scoring nine points and grabbing six boards in 24 minutes of action. All nine of the 6-foot-6 guard's points came from beyond the 3-point line, as he finished 3-for-6 from beyond the arc. He added two assists and a blocked shot. Thompson's classmate, 6-8 forward DeAngelo Casto (Spokane, Wash.) did not play due to a sore knee and is day-to-day.
Thompson got the U.S. on the board with a 3-pointer at the 9:24 mark in the first quarter. Thompson added an offensive rebound, a defensive rebound, a blocked shot and another 3-pointer in the next three minutes. He played five minutes in the first quarter as the U.S. jumped out to an early 20-13 lead. With Thompson back in the lineup, the USA used a 15-0 run to start the second quarter and jump out to a 35-13 lead with 4:24 to go in the half. The Americans' defense dominated in the period, holding Puerto Rico to just six points as they jumped out to a 43-19 halftime lead.
Puerto Rico's offense got back on track in the second half, but it never got closer than 16 as the U.S. went on to an 82-61 victory. Once again the scoring was spread out for the Americans who were led by Georgia forward Howard Thompkins with 14 points and nine boards, while Butler forward Gordon Hayward added 11 points and seven boards. Thompson and Duke guard Seth Curry were the second leading scorers for the United States. Juivani Fontan led Puerto Rico with 16 points.
In the Australian's victory over Argentina, incoming Cougar freshman Brock Motum (Brisbane, Australia) tied the team high with 16 points, adding five rebounds in 21 minutes of action. Motum made all six of his free throw attempts and grabbed four of his boards on the offensive end. The 6-9 forward is ranked 10th in the World Championship in scoring with 16.4 points per game, while he's tied for first in field goal percentage with a 62.5 percent clip.
Jason Cadee and Cody Ellis each added 16 points for Australia, while Ellis led the team with eight rebounds. Luciano González had a team-high 14 points for Argentina.
Once again Motum came off the bench for the Aussies, seeing his first action at the 5:10 mark in the first quarter. His first bucket of the game came at the 3:12 mark in the first half, giving Australia an early 17-point, 21-4, lead. Motum added two free throws in the period as Australia entered the second quarter with a 16-point, 25-9 lead. Motum made two more field goals in the first three minutes of the second period and added two free throws in the final three minutes of the quarter as his squad held a 13 point, 48-35, halftime lead.
Argentina's 7-0 run in the middle of the third quarter pulled it within six points at 56-50 with 1:31 to go in the third period. At the end of the period, Australia led 60-54. The Australian's opened the fourth quarter with a 5-0 run to extend their lead to 10 at 65-54 with 6:07 to go. Motum scored Australia's final four points as the Aussies went on to an 11-point, 76-65, victory.
Australia will face its toughest game of the World Championship thus far as it takes on Croatia (5-0) in Group F action, Wednesday, July 8 at 5 p.m. NZDT (Tuesday, July 7 at 10 p.m. PDT). The U.S. concludes Group E action as it takes on Lithuania (3-2), Wednesday, July 8 at 7:30 p.m. NZDT (Wednesday, July 8 at 12:30 a.m. PDT).