Beasley Powers USA to Global Games win

DALLAS, Texas (courtesy USA Basketball) - Incoming freshman Michael Beasley paced five players in double figures with a team-high 15 points and 13 rebounds, as the USA Men's U19 World Championship Team (1-0) opened the 2007 Global Games with a 102-51 win over Team Africa late Thursday night at Moody Coliseum.

In addition to Beasley's play, Patrick Beverley (Arkansas / Chicago, Ill.), Raymar Morgan (Michigan State / Canton, Ohio) and Deon Thompson (North Carolina / Torrance, Calif.) each accounted for 13 points, while Darrell Arthur (Kansas / Dallas, Texas) added 11 points in just 13 minutes of action. DeAndre Jordan (Bellaire Episcopal H.S. / Humble, Texas), the team’s youngest player, just missed a double-double scoring nine points and grabbing 10 rebounds.

"The three kids who just jump right out at you are Raymar Morgan, Darrell Arthur and David Lightly, said USA and DePaul University mentor Jerry Wainwright. "David Lighty has played in the Final Four, obviously Darrell (Arthur) has played in big-big games, and Raymar played big minutes as a freshman in the tough Big Ten. They have a seriousness and urgency to everything that they do that I think a lot of other guys don’t have right now. Those three guys physically, their bodies, how they talk on the floor, their composure, I think they really stand out and I’m glad they’re on this team because they give us a sense of order that we really need."

The USA U19 squad, which was selected June 30 after team trials were conducted with 18 hopefuls, will represent the United States in the 2007 FIBA U19 World Championship (players must be born on or after Jan. 1, 1988) that will be held July 12-22 in Novi Sad, Serbia.

Global Games play continues Friday with the U.S. facing Puerto Rico’s U19 National Team (0-1) in a 6 p.m. (CDT) contest. The Global Games finals will be conducted on Saturday (time and opponent TBD). With the USA, Africa and Puerto Rico making up Group A, preliminary round Group B is made up of Argentina, Junior College All-Stars and the Global Games AA team. All of the Global Games action is taking place at Moody Coliseum on the campus of Southern Methodist University.

Morgan, a 6-7 and 220 pound forward, made sure the USA got out to a good start. Scoring nine of the USA first 10 points on a variety of offensive moves, the USA jumped out to a 10-6 lead and after Beasley added a pair of hoops the Americans were in charge 14-6.

The USA held a 20-15 lead after one period of play and quickly distanced itself from Africa thanks to Arthur’s scoring barrage at the start of the second quarter. With Arthur tallying all 11 of his points in the quarter’s first four minutes, the Americans started the period with a 13-3 run to expand its lead to 33-18.

Following a Stephen Curry (Davidson / Charlotte, N.C.) 3-pointer, Africa lagged behind 38-21 with 4:21 to play before halftime. Africa ran off nine straight points and closed the half enjoying a 11-4 run that cut the deficit to 42-32 at halftime.

The U.S. put the pedal down in the third quarter and six minutes into the third quarter had taken a 20 point lead, 56-36.

It was clear sailing from there as the USA, who outscored Africa 60-19 in the second half, including a dominating 36-9 scoring edge in the fourth quarter.

"I was trying to stay aggressive, attack and get some of my teammates some open shots," said Morgan. "My shot was falling tonight, I tried to concentrate earlier during our walk though and get up some extra shots and it seemed to work."

"I really wanted to make sure guys got opportunities to play here. You don’t want to make judgements just on what kids do in practice. I tried to as best I could equalize minutes. We have a couple guys hurt and I tried to see where they’re at, and tried to get them some time because they missed some practice.

"It was kind of herky-jerky, stop and start in the first half because we rotated a lot of guys. I think that will be a strength of our team, that we can wear people out, but we’re still finding our way and I probably in the first half took us a little bit out of rhythm because of the substitutions. In the second half we stuck with a couple kids early to get us started and then I thought everybody responded and played much better."

The USA defense stymied Africa’s offense into 17-of-77 shooting (.227 percent) and 20 turnovers. The Americans also owned an 82-39 advantage on the glass, including 32 offensive rebounds. The USA shot 41.8 percent from the field, and managed to make 7-of-24 3-point tries.

"This is definitely a team that has a lot of depth. I think if we all play together it will be difficult to beat us, that’s definitely the key," stated Beasley. "We all knew each other but this is the first time most of us played together, but I feeling comfortable playing with everyone.