Team USA finishes ninth in Russia

BY CODY GOODWIN | JULY 17, 2013 5:00 AM

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The U.S. men’s basketball team completed its run at the World University Games Tuesday with a 97-70 throttling of Finland. The win gave Team USA a ninth-place finish in Kazan, Russia.

Iowa’s Aaron White tallied a double-double in Tuesday’s game with 12 points and a team-high 10 rebounds. White shot 4-of-8 from the field, missed his one 3-point attempt, and added 4 points from the foul line.

“In order to play defense, you need energy, No. 1, and No. 2, you need teamwork,” Team USA head coach Bob McKillop said in a release from USA Basketball. “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 go better and better.”

Indiana’s Will Sheehey led Team USA with 20 points. The Hoosier scored 12 straight at one point in the second quarter during what was a 27-6 run for the Red, White, and Blue.

The Sheehey-led run came after a back-and-forth opening period, in which Finland seized a 12-8 lead just less than eight minutes in. Michigan State’s Adreian Payne then scored, sparking a 9-0 run and giving Team USA a 25-20 lead after the first period. Payne ended the game with 13 points.

The lopsided second quarter allowed Team USA to enter the locker room with a comfortable 52-26 lead. Alongside Sheehey, fellow Hoosier Yogi Ferrell chipped in 11 points — mostly on 3-of-4 3-point shooting.

“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,” Sheehey said in the same release. “They got [off] to a hot start, then cooled off a little bit, and we capitalized on their misses.”

The final two stanzas were fairly even. Team USA scored 20 points in the third quarter while Finland put up 18. Finland even outscored USA in the fourth quarter, 26-25, but by then, the damage had been done, allowing the Red, White, and Blue to cruise to victory.

Team USA led by as many as 33 during the contest. That margin came at the 1:39 mark in the third quarter, when New Mexico’s Alex Kirk threw down an alley-oop dunk from Ferrell to push USA’s lead to 70-37. Kirk finished with 8 points in the game.

Team USA, while finishing in a disappointing ninth place, did manage to establish five U.S. Men’s World University Games competition records.

The Red, White, and Blue set a new record for 3-pointers made (81), 3-pointers attempted (225), rebounds (403), rebounds averaged, (50.4 per game) and assists (161).

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

“It’s been a great experience meeting these guys and just being around them, being around high-profile athletes and players,” Louisville’s Luke Hancock said in the same release. He finished with 3 points and 5 assists.

“Fortunately, they all are great guys and fun to be around,” Hancock said. “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 rare opportunity.”

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