After disposing of the United Arab Emirates easily yesterday, the Americans faced off against the Czech Republic today at the World University Games. It is not often that a 96-53 game would be considered closer than the last game but this was the case for the USA’s win against the Czechs.
As soon as the game began, team USA put their foot on the gas peddle and pulled away almost instantly. By halftime, they were up by 18 points and the game was already put to bed. For good measure, they outscored the Czechs by 14 points in the second half as well.
Leading the way for Team USA was Doug McDermott. The Creighton forward, who got the chance to rest for much of the game against the United Arab Emirates, scored 23 points and also grabbed 10 rebounds on his way to a double-double effort. McDermott spent the entire game getting the shots he wanted and making the majority of them. There was a real talent difference between him and the other team and it was very visible.
Though he had a great game, McDermott didn’t do it alone. The American’s flag bearer, Luke Hancock, had a great shooting night as he scored 15 points. All of his points came from three pointers. In the paint, Corey Jefferson picked up his second straight double-double with 10 points and 15 rebounds. His effort at rebounding stopped the Czechs from getting second chances opportunities and allowed the USA to run their fast break.
When it came to their all around effort, the Americans were excellent. Of course their offense was running on all cylinders but so was their defense. They worked well as a team, showing real chemistry and knowing when to come over and help and when to stay on their own man. Their defensive effort led to the Czechs shooting 20 of 64 from the field and they were only able to grab 10 offensive rebounds. The USA also forced the Czech Republic into 18 turnovers which are always a back breaker for teams playing with less takent than their opposition.
Hancock agreed, in an interview with the USA basketball website, that their defense was excellent all game.
I think we did play better defensively. We had a nice wake-up call (losing to Russia in a scrimmage), and now we’re on a roll. Everybody’s playing hard, and everybody is playing better offensively and defensively, getting on the same page. Coach talked about us trusting each other a little more on offense and defense to make the rotation, be there and have each other’s backs.
The Americans have the day off tomorrow and will take on the Swedes on July 10th.