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Team USA Defeats Finland, Clinches Ninth Place

Jul 16, 2013

KAZEN, Russia – A 27-6 scoring advantage in the second quarter, including 12-straight points from Will Sheehey (Indiana/Stuart, Fla.) – who finished with a game-high 20 points, helped the 2013 USA Men’s World University Games Team take control on its way to a 97-70 win against Finland on Tuesday afternoon at Basket Hall 2 in Kazan Russia.

The win was the third-straight for the USA (6-2), which finished in ninth place overall at the 2013 World University Games after missing out on the medal round as the No. 3 seed out of Group C.

Five USA players finished in scoring double figures, as the Americans forced 18 Finish turnovers while compiling a 44-32 rebounding advantage.

For the tournament, the USA established five U.S. Men’s World University Games competition records, including 3-pointers made (81), 3-pointers attempted (225), rebounds (403), rebounds averaged (50.4 rpg.) and assists (161).

“We fell short of our goal, so that's a little bit disappointing, but other than that it was a great learning experience,” said Colorado junior guard Spencer Dinwiddie (Woodland Hills, Calif.). “You get to go across the world, learn how other people live and you also get to learn about other elite players and how they function and their programs. It was a great learning experience.”

Dinwiddie, the lone Pac-12 Conference player on the roster played 18 minutes and scored six points. He added two blocked shots, two assists and one steal against Finland.

In the eight-game tournament, Dinwiddie led Team USA in assists (44, 5.5 apg.) and steals (12, 1.5 spg.). He started all eight games averaging 7.9 points and 2.6 rebounds per game, and made 50 percent of shots (25-of-50).

“In order to play defense, you need energy, number one, and number two, you need teamwork,” said USA head coach Bob McKillop (Davidson College). “Being in this situation, our guys responded by giving terrific energy and superb teamwork. To see our guys develop as a team as we have progressed through this experience here has been very delightful for the coaching staff. These are terrific young men, and they're going to have wonderful careers this year. They represented the United States with superb character and their effort as a team got better and better.”

In addition to Sheehy, Adreian Payne (Michigan State/Dayton, Ohio) contributed 13 points; Aaron White(Iowa/Strongsville, Ohio) had a double-double of 12 points and 10 rebounds; Yogi Ferrell (Indiana/Indianapolis, Ind.) shot 3-of-4 from 3-point on his way to 11 points; and Tyler Haws (BYU/Alpine, Utah) finished with 10 points.

“I just think we did what we've been doing the past couple of games, which is getting ball pressure early and forcing them to take turnovers and tough shots, and then get easy baskets on offense,” Sheehey said.

Finland led for the first 5:54 of the game, and the USA trailed 8-12 at 4:28. A score from Payne, however, was the start of a 9-0 U.S. run that put the USA up 17-12 with two free throws from Sean Kilpatrick (Cincinnati/Yonkers, N.Y.) at 2:13.

Finland scored at 1:55 to end the spurt, but two free throws from Ferrell and a 3-pointer from Payne and Kilpatrick helped the USA take a 25-20 lead at the first break.

The first 2:34 of the second period belonged to Sheehey, who tallied 12-straight points for the USA, including two threes off of assists from Luke Hancock (Louisville/Roanoke, Va.) to help widen the gap to 37-22 at 7:26. Hancock led the USA with five dimes against Finland.

With the U.S. machine in motion, the Americans allowed just six for Finland for the entire stanza, while the U.S. offense raced to 27 points to lead by a comfortable 26 points at halftime, 52-26.

Finland (5-3) managed to nearly keep pace with the USA in the third quarter, scoring 18 points to the USA’s 20, and then outscored the USA 26-25 in the fourth quarter. The effort, however, was too little too late as the USA never was threatened in the second half, and easily recorded the 97-70 win.

The USA led by as many as 33 points in the game, which came at 1:39 in the fourth when Alex Kirk (New Mexico/Los Alamos, N.M.) dunked an alley-oop from Ferrell to put the USA ahead 70-37.

Treveon Graham (VCU/Temple Hills, Md.) did not play due to injury, while Carl Lindbom led Finland with 18 points. 

“It's been a great experience meeting these guys and just being around them, being around high-profile athletes and players,” Hancock said. “Fortunately, they all are great guys and fun to be around. They're people I want to be involved with for a long time, so the experience playing against this competition was unbelievable. Being in Russia is obviously a pretty rare opportunity.”

Overall, five players averaged double-digit scoring throughout, including Doug McDermott (Creighton/Ames, Iowa) at 14.1 points per game, Hancock at 10.8 ppg., Sheehey with 10.6 ppg., Cory Jefferson (Baylor/ Killeen, Texas) with 10.5 ppg. and Ferrell at 10.3 ppg. Jefferson also led the team in rebounding at 9.0 rebounds per game.

Also today, Oman (1-7) took 23rd place after a forfeit from Philippines (0-8); Chile (2-6) beat China (2-6) 76-72 for 21st place; Ukraine (3-5) won against United Arab Emirates 107-54 for 19th place; Sweden (4-4) finished 17th after a 62-50 win over Japan (3-5); Czech Republic (3-5) beat Mongolia (2-6) for 15th place; Norway (4-4) finished 13th after beating South Korea (3-5) 79-77; Mexico (5-3) took 11th with a 71-64 win over Germany (4-4); Estonia (5-3) placed seventh with a 67-63 win over Brazil (4-4); and Lithuania (7-1) won against Romania (5-3) 87-50 to take fifth.

Tonight’s bronze medal game will see Canada (6-1) take on Serbia (6-1) at 7 p.m. (times listed are local; Kazan, Russia is +8 hours from EDT); while host Russia (7-0) will meet Australia (6-1) in the gold-medal game at 9:30 p.m. The bronze and gold medal games will air on ESPNU at 7 and 9 p.m. EDT, respectively.

Assisting McKillop on the USA sideline were John Beilein of the University of Michigan and Frank Martin of the University of South Carolina.

The USA men are now 144-11 all-time in World University Games play.

(USA Basketball contributed to this report)