USA Men Defeat China 117-61 To Remain Undefeated At World University Games

Eric Hicks (Cincinnati / Greensboro, N.C.) came off the bench to score 24 points as the U.S. Men scored a 117-61 win over China to improve to 4-0 at the World University Games in Izmir, Turkey.

The USA, which has now won 51 of the last 52 World University Games, avenged its last loss to China, which came in the semifinals of the 2001 Games. The Americans will next play the Czech Republic on Wednesday at 12:45 p.m. at Ataturk Sports Salon in the final game of the preliminary second round.

Hicks was part of a bench brigade which combined for 61 points in the runaway win. Shelden Williams (Duke / Forest Park, Okla.) scored 16 points, Vincent Grier (Minnesota / Charlotte, N.C.) added 14, Gerry McNamara (Syracuse / Scranton, Pa.), 12, while Randy Foye (Villanova / Newark, N.J.) and Mike Gansey (Virginia / Olmsted Falls, Ohio) each had 10 apiece.

McNamara provided an early spark for the USA, connecting on three 3-point field goals just after the opening tip as the Americans built a 13-2 lead with 7:01 to play in the first quarter.

"I haven't gotten into a rhythm yet, I haven't come out and felt my legs underneath me in the first few games here," said McNamara, who came into the game having connected on only three of 15 3-point attempts. "I really wanted to make a point to come out and set the tone and I was able to do that in the first couple of minutes of the game."

The USA led 37-9 at the end of the first quarter as McNamara and Grier each had nine points apiece.

China opened the second quarter with a 13-12 run and closed the gap to 46-22 after a basket by Dongyuan Xie.

The Americans closed the first half strong behind a 16-8 run capped by Chris Hernandez' (Stanford / Fresno, Calif.) 3-point field goal which gave the USA a 62-30 halftime lead.

Foye led the USA with 10 first half points. In bolting to the 32-point lead, the Americans connected on 24 of 44 (54 percent) from the field and had six 3-point field goals.

Behind strong bench play the USA continued to widen its advantage in the third quarter, grabbing an 89-40 lead after a Patrick Sparks (Kentucky / Central City, Ky.) 3-point field goal. The USA led 93-47 going to the final period of play.

The USA led by as many as 57 points in the fourth quarter as Hicks had his way inside, scoring 12 of his points in the final period.

China, which was led by Ye Hou with 15 points, turned the ball over 33 times in the loss.

"I was very pleased, I don't think the score indicated that we are that much better than China," said USA and Villanova University (Pa.) head coach Jay Wright. "I think it indicated that we played every possession and I was really proud of our guys."

"We are trying to take it one game at a time and get better each time out," said Wright. "I thought the game against Germany exposed some of our weaknesses, we tried to work on it yesterday and I thought our guys came out early and played each possession with a fever pitch and that's what put the game away early."

The USA played without starting forward Craig Smith (Boston College / Los Angeles, Calif.), who suffered a lower back sprain in Sunday's win over Germany. Smith was evaluated by Gloria Beim, M.D., Chief Medical Officer for the 2005 U.S. Summer World University Games Team after the game against Germany and could have played in Tuesday's game if necessary.

"(Smith) was cleared to play if we needed him, but he wasn't one hundred percent," Wright said. "We would have had to have been down ten or fifteen before I would have used him today, I really didn't want to use him."

On Wednesday, the USA will face off against a Czech Republic team which is 2-1 in the Games so far, losing to Germany on Tuesday.

"They are a very tall team with a huge inside guy who is a very good player," Wright said. "They also have a couple of good perimeter shooters. They are big at the guard positions. They are kind of like Germany, it's going to be a tough game like Germany was."