In Kazan, Russia, the United States took one more step to finishing with their best possible result in basketball at the World University Games. After defeating Norway to stay alive yesterday, they took out the Germans 92-70 to advance to the ninth place game against Finland.
After failing to reach the medal rounds, ninth became the best possible position for the USA and they have done their best to make sure they won’t fall short of it by playing their best two games of the tournament when it mattered most.
The scoring against the Germans was paced by Creighton star, Doug McDermott, who scored 18 points. He was not the only productive player though as four players reached double figures as the Americans played a very unselfish game. Louisville’s Luke Hancock also had a standout game, scoring 16 points while also grabbing down seven rebounds.
The game was close in the first quarter as the Germans escaped the first frame with a two point lead. After having some time to recollect themselves before the start of the second quarter, the Americans came out firing and outscored Germany 29-13 in the frame. After the half was over, victory was never really in question for the USA as they cruised in the second half to victory.
While the Germans did a good job of limiting their turnovers, finishing even with the Americans at 14 a piece, they could not find an offensive flow. The US defense was just too stifling, forcing Germany into a 24 of 69 shooting performance. In reality, defense has been the story all tournament long for the Americans, when they defend well, they win their games fairly easily. When they lapse from time to time, they end up losing games that should be winning.
US head coach, Bob McKillop, liked what he saw out there against Germany and feels good going into their final game against Finland.
“It’s so easy to hang your head and not fight back when you have the disappointment of being knocked out of the medal round. These guys showed outstanding teamwork and toughness in responding to that adversity. I wish we could start today, because I think we are coming together as a team. We are starting to make the extra pass, get the long rebound, defend as a team and, and we’d love to have the opportunity to play some teams again.”
The American’s final game will be at 3pm Kazan time and the winner of the match will be the tournament’s ninth place fisher. While it may not be gold, the US will be ready to give its best effort in their last game.
“We want to finish this strong. We started fast, and we want to finish strong. We got caught in between, in the middle, but we started fast in the beginning of this tournament, and we want to finish strong,” said guard Yogi Ferrell.