Beasley, USA winners at FIBA Championships

NOVI SAD, Serbia Kansas State incoming freshman Michael Beasley was one of seven players in double figures for the U.S., as the squad opened the FIBA U19 World Championships with an 118-56 win over Mali on Thursday afternoon.

The USA will continue play against China (0-1) on July 13 (2:30 p.m. EDT) and will cap preliminary play against host Serbia (1-0) on July 14 (12:00 p.m. EDT). Serbia defeated China 78-61 in their opening game.   DeAndre Jordan (Bellaire Episcopal H.S. / Humble, Texas) scored 20 points to lead all scorers to go along with seven rebounds and four blocked shots, while Beasley added 17 points on 7-of-11 shooting with six rebounds and two blocked shots.

"I thought we, for not playing for a couple days, shared the ball really well," said USA and DePaul University head coach Jerry Wainwright. "Obviously Mali played hard, but they were really overmatched. I think even though we are really overmatched, at least the score showed we played to our potential and not theirs. It was good for some of the kids, especially our younger kids to get their feet wet. We were able to rest a couple of guys who I think will be key for us tomorrow so we’ll see what happens.

A bigger, faster and more athletic USA squad ran out to a 21-0 lead and never looked back on its opponents. Mali hit a free throw at 3:14 and its first field goal came with 58 seconds remaining in the first period . The Americans closed the first 10 minutes of play with a dominating 34-5 performance that saw eight assists, three steals, four blocked shots and just four turnovers, as well as a sizzling 4-of-6 shooting from 3-point range.

Although Mali won the second period 23-20, there was no threat in the second half of a comeback as the USA was up 86-40 at the end of three and sailed home for the victory.

"They’re a good team, but we just came out and played our best," said Beasley. "When we play together I don’t think anybody can beat us."

In addition to contributions by Jordan and Beasley, Tajuan Porter (Oregon / Detroit, Mich.) scored 14 points, Matt Bouldin (Gonzaga / Highlands Ranch, Colo.) notched 13, Raymar Morgan (Michigan State / Canton, Ohio) and Deon Thompson (North Carolina / Torrance, Calif.) each contributed 11 points and Damian Hollis (George Washington / Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.) chipped in 10. Additionally, Thompson tied for high rebounding honors with seven and Jonny Flynn (Niagara Falls H.S. / Niagara Falls, N.Y.) dished out seven of the USA’s 22 assists.

Thee USA shot a sizzling 65.2 percent (45-69 FGs) from the field, while limiting Mali to a frigid 26.8 percent (19-71 FGs). The Americans also outrebounded their opponents by a dominating 51-24 margin and had 10 blocked shots for the night.

Dont Greene (Towson Catholic H.S. / Baltimore, Md.) suffered a right shoulder contusion in the second half of the game. As a precaution, -rays were taken and revealed no fracture. He is listed as day to day.

Wainwright, who served as an assistant for the 2006 USA U18 National Team, is heading up the 2007 USA U19 World Championship Team coaching staff, and collegiate head coaches Bruiser Flint of Drexel University (Pa.) and George Washington University’s (D.C.) Karl Hobbs are serving as assistant coaches.

In other preliminary round play, France (1-0) edged Lithuania (0-1) 85-82, Brazil (1-0) beat Lebanon (0-1) 83-67, Canada (1-0) dominated Nigeria (0-1) 82-60, Australia (1-0) took Turkey (0-1) 77-65 and Argentina (1-0) downed Korea (0-1) 91-85.

The top three teams from each of the four preliminary round groups advance to the July 16-18 second round. The top three teams from Groups A and B will compete in round-robin play in second round Group E; while the top three teams from Groups C and D will play each other in Group F. The preliminary round results carry over to the second round standings, and teams will only face advancing squads from the opposite group in second round action. Quarterfinals will be contested on July 20, the semifinals on July 21 and the gold medal tilt is slated for July 22.