June 26, 2011

USA U19 Team Falls In Exhibition Contest

Box Score

One day after arriving in Panevëzys, Lithuania, the USA U19 Team faced its first international competition, and it turned into a valuable learning experience.  The Lithuania U20 squad jumped to an early 5-0 lead in the exhibition contest and never trailed on the way to a 101-72 victory.

Butler sophomore-to-be Khyle Marshall was given a starting nod in the U.S. opener, along with Jeremy Lamb of Connecticut, Joe Jackson of Memphis, Doug McDermott of Creighton and Myers Leonard of Illinois.  The 6-7 Marshall finished with four points of four of eight shooting from the free throw line and three offensive rebounds in 12 minutes of action.

Tim Hardaway, Jr., of Michigan led the U.S. with 18 points, while Jackson added 13.  McDermott finished with 12 points.

“I thought the thing we learned from this game is just how physical the game is. We have to raise our level of physicality, especially on the defense end, firing through screens, and on the offensive end, setting better screens,”  head coach Paul Hewitt said in a USA Basketball release.  “I thought in the first half we were a little timid, a little light on our screens. In the second half, especially in the third quarter, we did as better job. We picked it up defensively, picked it up offensively and did much better.”

The USA squad will play a second exhibition game against the Lithuania U19 Team on Tuesday, June 28, at noon (ET).

Sixteen nations will battle for the 2011 FIBA U19 World Championship.  The United States has been placed in Group D, along with China, Egypt and Serbia.  The 12 remaining 19-and-under national teams are Brazil, Poland, Russia and Tunisia (Group A), Argentina, Australia, Latvia and Taiwan (Group B) and Canada, Croatia, Lithuania and South Korea (Group C).

The U.S. squad’s preliminary round slate opens with a June 30 contest against Egypt, followed by Serbia on July 1, and the USA squad will conclude preliminary play July 2 versus China. The top three teams from each preliminary group will qualify for the preliminary second round, while the fourth place teams will qualify for the classification round to determine 13th to 16th places. The quarterfinals will be held on July 8, semifinals are slated for July 9 and the gold and bronze medal games, as well as the 5th/6th place and 7th/8th place games will be contested on July 10.