USA Downs Puerto Rico At U19 World Championship

Box Score

Butler players Gordon Hayward and Shelvin Mack combined for 18 points and 11 rebounds and helped the USA to an 82-61 victory over Puerto Rico in the second round of the FIBA U19 World Championship in Auckland, New Zealand.  The win assured the unbeaten U.S. squad of the No. 1 seed for Group E in the medal round quarterfinals.

Hayward has 11 points, seven rebounds, two assists, three steals and three blocked shots in 18 minutes of action.  He was one of two U.S. players to score in double-figures in the victory.  Mack chipped in with seven points, four rebounds, one assist and two steals in 18 minutes.

The U.S. broke an 11-11 tie with a 9-2 scoring run in the final 2:31 of the first quarter and then took command by scoring the first 15 points of the second period.  Puerto Rico never recovered.  Hounded by an aggressive U.S. defense, Puerto Rico managed just two field goals in the final 13 minutes of the first half and trailed, 43-19, at halftime.

“The key of team defense is to crowd them on the three-point line,” said Hayward after the game.  “They’re a good three-point shooting team, so we wanted to make them put it on the floor and drive to the lane and let our big guys block some shots.”

The U.S., paced by Hayward, had eight blocked shots in the game, while limiting Puerto Rico to 33% shooting.  Puerto Rico’s high-scoring guard Mike Rosario, who scored 54 points one game earlier, finished with just 11 points on four of 15 shooting.

Howard Thompkins of Georgia led the U.S. with 14 points and nine rebounds.

The U.S. will close out second round play against European power Lithuania (3-2) on Wednesday, July 8, at 7:30 p.m. (3:30 a.m. on in the U.S.).  The top four teams from Group E and from Group F will advance to medal round play, which begins on Friday, July 10.