USA Men's World Championship Team Out Guns Spain 95-76|
July 20, 1998
MONTE CARLO, Monaco - Jason Sasser (Sioux Falls Skyforce / Caja San Fernando, Spain / Texas Tech 96) scored 15 points and Michael Hawkins (Olympiakos, Greece / Xavier 95) contributed 12 points, four assists and three steals, as all 15 USA players scored in Sunday's 95-78 victory over Spain in Monte Carlo, Monaco.
The win was the USA's second in as many evenings and left USA head coach Rudy Tomjanovich pleased with his team's continued improvement. "I thought that Spain was a lot more physical and we got into foul trouble early. We didn't make the adjustment to the way they were calling the game and we put them on the line a lot in the first half. We want to still remain aggressive, but we just have to make that adjustment. I thought it was a good learning experience for us. I was pleased with the way we came out in the second half and kept the defensive intensity high and again our defense was our foundation and got us some easy baskets.
"I think a trait of this team will be that we will have different people stepping up. We have good players, but the way it is set up it's a team concept deal. I thought Bill Edwards came off the bench and gave us a nice boost there and Sasser has been consistent the last two games. Hawkins was great tonight, and he got a little tired but he kept it going. He gave us the high sign which meant he needed to come out but he still made a couple of great plays."
The Americans led from start to finish and scored the game's first eight points to jump out in front 8-0 with the contest just 3:10 old. Spain closed the gap to 10-8, but a 9-0 USA run, during which Jimmy Oliver (Ciudad de Huelva, Spain / Purdue '91) scored five of the nine points, pushed the USA advantage to 19-8 with 13:08 to play in the first half. Leading by 14, 41-27, after a Sasser field goal with 3:44 to go before half, Spain outscored the U.S. 9-2 to cut the lead to 43-36 at halftime.
Holding a 49-40 lead with 17:50 to play, Hawkins nailed a three-pointer to start the USA on a 19-8 offensive explosion and with 11:18 to play the USA was in charge 68-48. Spain never was able to get back into the contest as the Americans went on to post the 95-78 win.
Aiding the U.S. to the win were Oliver, nine points, Ashraf Amaya (Idaho Stampede / Southern Illinois 93), nine points, Gerard King (Fontanafredda, Italy / Nicholls State 96), eight points and six rebounds, and Bill Edwards (Calze Pompea Roma, Italy / Wright State 93), eight points and four rebounds.
The USA continued to shoot well, hitting 52.5 percent (32-61 FGs) from the floor and owned a 35-to-28 advantage in rebounding, despite being outsized. The USA defense held Spain in check, limiting their shooting to 46.3 percent (25-54 FGs), while forcing 17 turnovers.
The exhibition against Spain was the second of three scheduled exhibition games in Europe for the USA team during its pre-World Championship training. The United States' remaining exhibition game will be played in Rome, Italy on July 25 against the Italian National Team.
The U.S. team will train in Monte Carlo through July 23, then travel to Rome where it will train July 23-25. Arriving in Athens, Greece, on July 26, the 13th FIBA Men's World Championship will be held July 29-August 9 in Athens with teams from 16 countries competing for the gold medal. The United States begins World Championship preliminary round play on July 29 against Brazil, and continues preliminary round play on July 30 versus Lithuania and July 31 against South Korea. Second Round Group play is slated to be conducted August 2-4, with quarterfinals, semifinals and finals action to be held August 7-9.
Currently the USA Team consists of 15 finalists, including: Wendell Alexis (Alba Berlin, Germany / Syracuse 86); Ashraf Amaya (Idaho Stampede / Southern Illinois '93); Earl Boykins (Eastern Michigan 98); Tim Breaux (Idaho Stampede / Caceres C.B., Spain / Wyoming '92); Mateen Cleaves (Michigan State '00); Bill Edwards (Virtus Rome, Italy / Wright State '93); Kiwane Garris (Grand Rapids / Illinois '97); Michael Hawkins (Olympiakos, Greece / Xavier '95); Gerard King (Siena, Italy / Nicholls State 96); Jimmy King (Quad City Thunder / Michigan 95); Trajan Langdon (Duke '99); Brad Miller (Purdue 98); Jimmy Oliver (Ciudad de Huelva, Spain / Purdue 91); Jason Sasser (Sioux Falls Skyforce / Caja San Fernando, Spain / Texas Tech 96) and David Wood (Rockford Lightning / Unicaja Malaga, Spain /Nevada Reno 87). The official 12-man USA World Championship roster is expected to be announced before the team concludes its Monte Carlo training on July 23.
1998 USA MEN'S WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP TEAM