USA and Australia Advance to Semifinals at U19 World Championship

July 10, 2009

AUCKLAND, New Zealand - Both the United States and Australia, featuring Washington State University men's basketball members, advanced to the semifinals as the U.S. (7-0) defeated Canada (3-4), 93-73, and Australia (7-0), slid by France (3-4), 79-73, in the quarterfinals, Friday NZDT at the FIBA U19 World Championship.

Washington State rising-sophomore Klay Thompson (Ladera Ranch, Calif.) and incoming Cougar freshman Brock Motum (Brisbane, Australia) are each one win away from meeting up for the gold medal in the championship game. Next up for Thompson and the Americans is Croatia (6-1) in the semifinals, Saturday, July 11 at 8:30 p.m. NZDT (Saturday, July 11 at 1:30 a.m. PDT). Motum and the Australians will face Greece (5-2), Saturday, July 11 at 6:15 p.m. NZDT (Friday, July 10 at 11:15 p.m. PDT).

Earlier in the tournament, Australia handed Croatia its only loss, a 79-74, defeat Wednesday, while the U.S. beat Greece, 85-69, Monday.

Thompson shot 3-for-4 from the field, all from beyond the 3-point arc, for nine points, adding two rebounds an assist and a steal in 16 minutes. The 6-foot-6 guard got his third-straight start for the Americans. Thompson is averaging 7.9 points, 4.6 rebounds and 2.4 assists in the World Championship. As a team, the U.S. shot a blistering 53.8 percent from beyond the 3-point arc, converting 14-of-26. Overall the USA shot 53.3 from the field, while holding Canada to 39.4 percent and just 30.0 percent from 3-point.

Butler's Gordon Hayward and Duke's Seth Curry led the 3-point attack as each went 4-for-5 from beyond the arc. Hayward led the team with 20 points as he finished 7-for-12 from the field, adding three rebounds and three steals. Curry had 12 points and three assists. UTEP's Arnett Moultrie had a game-high 11 rebounds.

Thompson's classmate and USA teammate DeAngelo Casto (Spokane, Wash.) ended his run in the tournament, as USA Basketball reported that he has a torn meniscus of his right knee. A 6-8 forward, Casto averaged 6.3 points and 3.3 rebounds in four games for the Americans.

Canada was led by Tristan Thompson with 18 points and eight rebounds, while incoming Gonzaga freshman Kelly Olynyk added 14 points and seven boards.

WSU's Thompson made his first 3-point attempt at the 8:55 mark as the U.S. jumped out to an early 5-0 lead. Canada pulled within one at 10-9 with 4:49 left in the first period, but the USA took advantage of an offensive rebound by Terrico White, as Seth Curry drained his first 3-pointer of the game for a 13-9 lead with 4:30 left in the first. The Americans added six more unanswered points for a 9-0 run and 19-9 lead with just over two and a half minutes to go in the quarter. The U.S. extended its lead to 10 points, 25-15, at the end of the first quarter.

Thompson struck first in the second quarter with his second 3-pointer and a 28-15 lead. The U.S. lead reached as many as 18 points, before it took a 15-point, 51-36, lead into halftime.

After trailing by as many as 17 in the first three minutes of the second half, Canada whittled the USA lead to 14 with 6:10 in the third quarter, but a 3-pointer from Thompson stopped the comeback and Canada never seriously threatened the U.S. again. The Americans' lead reached 20 in the third quarter, as it ended the period with an 18-point, 72-54, lead.

Thompson didn't miss a shot until the fourth quarter and added a steal and an assist in the period as Canada never got within 18 points and the USA went on for the 20-point, 93-73, victory.

Motum's Australian squad had a tougher time against France. A 6-9 forward, Motum finished with 11 points on 5-for-7 shooting, adding two rebounds, a steal and a blocked shot in 23 minutes of action. Motum continues to lead Australia with 14.7 points per game, ranked 15th in the tournament, while he leads all competitors at the World Championship with a 61.4 field goal percentage (43-for-70). Matthew Dellavedova led Australia with 18 points and two assists. Guard play proved to be huge for the Aussies as Jason Cadee added 10 points and four rebounds. Fellow forward Cody Ellis had a double-double with 14 points and 10 boards.

France was led by Christophe Leonard's double-double of 22 points and 13 rebounds, while Andrew Albicy and Nicolas Lang added 17 points apiece.

Like Thompson in USA's game, Motum also made his first shot attempt, as he hit a bucket at the 3:37 mark in the first quarter after entering for the first time at the 4:31 mark in the first period. After trailing, 20-17, at the end of the first quarter, Australia used an offensively explosive second quarter in which it put up 28 points and allowed just 15 by France for a 45-35 lead.

France chiseled away at Australia's halftime lead and cut it to five points, 58-53, at the end of the third quarter. A field goal by Motum 30 seconds into the fourth quarter gave Australia a 60-53 lead. Just when it looked like Australia was about to pull away, Leonard took over for the French's offense, as France took its first lead since early in the second quarter, 63-52, with 6:11 to go. France led by as many as five points with 4:37 to go, but hot shooting by Dellavedova and Jorden Page gave Australia the lead back at 74-71 with 2:33 to go. Australia held onto the lead and ended with a 79-73 victory.

The winners of the semifinals featuring Australia against Greece and the U.S. against Croatia will meet in the championship game Sunday, July 12 at 7:30 p.m. NZDT (Sunday, July 12 at 12:30 a.m. PDT).

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