Thursday, August 24, 2006

2006 FIBA World Champs--Thursday Roundup

- USA 103, Senegal 58: Not much to take away from this game, basically just a scrimmage. Chris Bosh finally got some good minutes & he delivered with 20 & 10 on 7/9. This could be the confidence booster he needs for the playoff round after really struggling most of the summer. Bron had 17 pts in 18 minutes on 7/8 shooting. Melo kept up his sweet shooting stroke by hitting 4/7 from 3pt. land. Team USA faces Australia next & I do not see too much of a problem for the US. Australia turns the ball over alot (20 per in 5 games) & they do not have much size outside of Bogut. The only thing to be concerned about is keeping track of the Aussies' 3pt. shooting.

- Nigeria 95, Lebenon 72: Nigeria pulled off a must win game fairly easily & secured the 3-seed in Group A. Former Oklahoma Sooner Ebi Ere led the Nigerians with 19 pts. NY Knick Ime Udoka had another solid all-around game running the offense with 10 pts., 7 rebs., & 9 assts. (maybe the Knicks have a decent back-up PG on their hands who's unselfish). Current Maryland Terrapin Ekenne Ibekwe tallied 12 & 8 and ex-Texas Longhorn Gabe Muoneke continued his strong effort with 11 pts. Now it's on to face Germany in the round of 16, and if they pull that upset off, they have the reward of playing the US in the quarterfinals.

- France 81, Venezuela 61: France rebounded from their last second lost to Lebanon the nite before by laying the hammer down on Venezuela. But once again the French showed their major issues with outside shooting--they were 3/22 from the 3pt. line. Florent Pietrus continued his strong play with 19 (9/10 fts) & 8. Florent has been outplaying his NBA-employed brother, Mickeal, and maybe it's time a NBA tryout or contract should be tendered to him. Boris Diaw was solid with 11 pts., but he has not been playing up to his potential so far & really needs to turn up his effort in playoffs for the French to get far. But once again Fred Weis had another strong showing with 10 pts. & 6 rebs (4 off.). France plays surprising Angola in the 1st round, and should not take them lightly, just ask Dirk & Germany.

- New Zealand 65, Panama 54: Even though N. Z. doesn't deserve a playoff spot with their lackluster play, someone had to get the final spot in Group B. Former Wisconsin standout Kirk Penney led the way with 16 pts. The Charles Barkley of New Zealand, Pero Cameron, had 14 on 4/7 from downtown. Current Winthrop Univ. star center Craig Bradshaw had 17 & 8. But New Zealand better enjoy this victory now, because it should be their last: they get Argentina next.

- Spain 104, Japan 55: Like the US game, basically just a scrimmage where Spain can rest their players. Spain did keep up their improved 3pt. shooting--46 %. Pau led the way with 21, 16, & 4 blocks. Guard Juan Navarro showed off his improved shooting stroke going 3/3 from deep for 18 pts. Toronto Raptor Jose Calderon pitched in 7 assts & jack-of-all-trades PF Jorge Garbajosa brought 12 pts., 7 rebs., & 4 steals. Spain has Serbia in the 1st round and this game could be a tougher test then Spain would have hoped for in the round of 16.

- Australia 93, Qatar 46: Australia finally got a break from the rigorous nightly competition in Group C with the lightweight of the group. And they need the rest, since the US waits in the 1st round. Australia continued its sharp 3pt. shooting--45%. Andrew Bogut gave the Aussies 10, 7 & 4 assts, but still needs to take more shots (5/8). Mark Wortington chipped in with 17, 5 rbs. on 4/5 from deep. Jason Smith was also hot from deep--4/7 for 16. Australia will have to keep their turnovers down the next game--they have averaged 20 per game in group play.

- Italy 73, Puerto Rico 72: Italy held off P.R. in a game that saw both offenses struggle. Italy shot 24% from 3pt & P.R. shot 28.6%. Veteran big Denis Marconato led the way for Italy with 10 pts & 8, and ex-Princeton Tiger Mason Rocca was the only other Italian in double figures with 10. Larry Ayuso had another explosive scoring nite with 25 pts. and Rick Apodaca added 12 & 9 rbs. for Puerto Rico. Italy now faces Lithuania in the 1st round and it should make for a competitive game.

*--I will have more in-depth recaps for the following games later today: Germany 108, Angola 103 (3 OT); China 78, Slovenia 77; Lithuania 79, Brazil 74; Greece 76, Turkey 69