Posted: Aug 11, 2011 3:34 PM
Updated: Aug 11, 2011 5:44 PM
COLUMBIA - Team USA overcame a slow start to cruise to a 88-61 win over New Century in an exhibition tune-up on Thursday. Missouri's Marcus Denmon earned the start for Team USA and scored three points in the win along with an assist in 17 minutes of action. Denmon however had a tough time shooting on the day, going 1-for-8.
Team USA earned its 27-point victory behind their strong play over the final three quarters, during which they outscored New Century, a professional organization representing the Chinese Basketball Association, 71-38. It was their final exhibition game before pool play begins on Saturday.
"We started off a little slow, but the coaching staff made some adjustments and we got going," Denmon said. "John (Jenkins) was really shooting the ball great and once he had a couple of shots go through it allowed us to establish the tempo and get out in transition."
As Denmon allued to,Jenkins, Vanderbilt's sharp-shooter, was the lone Team USA representative in double figures with 24 points. He hit 8-of-10 treys and 8-of-12 shots for the game.
"I thought this was a great game for our team to get ready for the World University Games," Team USA Head Coach Matt Painter said. "(New Century) presented a lot of challenges for us, especially in the first half. With their size, they did a good job of corralling us, not letting us get going. But this was a great tune-up game for us."
Denmon said, "I think we are looking forward to starting the tournament, I know Mexico will be fired up and they will play hard, but we are here on business and we just have to play our game and focus on the task at hand."
In all, 24 countries will compete in the international competition. The USA has been slotted into pool D, along with Finland, Hungary, Israel, Mexico and South Korea. Following the preliminary round, the top two teams from each pool will advance to the medal quarterfinals, which will be contested on Aug. 20. The semifinals are scheduled for Aug. 21, and the finals will be played on Aug. 22.