USA Men's Basketball Wins Gold At World University Games

Aug. 21, 2005

Izmir, Turkey - The 2005 United States men's basketball team completed a dominant showing at the Summer World University Games with a gold medal-winning 85-70 victory over the Ukraine on Sunday afternoon.

Craig Smith led six players in double figures for the USA with 16 points, with all his points coming in the first half. Shelden Williams added 15, Gerry McNamara, 13, Randy Foye, 12, Chris Hernandez (Fresno, Calif./Stanford), 11, and Vincent Grier 10.

In winning gold for the 13th time in Games history, the USA went 8-0, winning each game by an average margin of 29.9 points per game. The Americans treated every opponent the same, scoring double-digit wins over Iran, Slovakia, Germany, China, Czech Republic, Australia, Russia and Ukraine. The closest contest was a 10-point win over the Germans.

The USA trailed early in the first quarter by a 12-8 count, before closing on a 10-2 run to lead 24-17 after the first period. Smith provided the spark with 12 first quarter points on a variety of moves around the basket as well as short jump shots.

The USA led 46-33 at halftime as the 3-point shot was key for the Americans in the second quarter. The U.S. totaled five in the period, with McNamara connecting on three, while Hernandez and Matt Haryasz (Page, Ariz./Stanford) had the others.

Smith had 16 first half points before he limped off the court with a strained right calf muscle late in the second quarter. Smith was evaluated by Gloria Beim, M.D., Chief Medical Officer for the 2005 U.S. Summer World University Games, and did not return. It was an injury that Smith had been playing with for the last four weeks.

McNamara had 12 of his points in the opening 20 minutes, with four 3-pointers to his credit.

The Ukraine, which was led by Igor Kryvych with 19 points, never made a serious run at the U.S. in the second half.

Leading 58-44, the Americans scored the next eight points to lead 66-44 after a Foye bank shot with 2:13 remaining in the third quarter. With Foye and Grier scoring seven points apiece in the third quarter, the U.S. led 69-49.

The Americans put an exclamation on the victory in the fourth quarter when first Grier, then Williams scored on consecutive plays with dunk shots over Ukranian center Oleksiy Pecmerov, giving the Americans an 80-60 lead.

The Ukranians could get no closer than the final score.

The USA has now won nine straight World University Games and 55 of the last 56. They have an overall mark of 127-17, and have now medaled in all 18 Games in which they have participated.

'This whole experience has been about a group of twelve stars giving up of themselves to be a team,' U.S.A. head coach Jay Wright said. 'As coaches we knew we had very talented players, but the thing we are most proud of is the fact that these guys really wanted to be part of a U.S. basketball team. They didn't care who was the leading scorer or who played. That is really something special to be part of and is unique these days.'

The gold medal was the first for the U.S. since 1999. The USA had won the bronze in 2001, and did not send a team to the 2003 Games in Daegu, South Korea. The double gold's scored by the USA men's and women's basketball teams is the first since 1997.

'We are very proud of that,' Wright said. 'We take the responsibility of representing United States basketball very seriously, and I think these players did. They took great pride in winning the gold medal for the men, because the women were great here too.'

courtesy of USA Basketball

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