Kansas' Taylor Scores 10 Points as USA U19 Team Tops Canada 93-73 and Advances to Medal Semifinals

July 10, 2009

AUCKLAND, New Zealand — Kansas sophomore Tyshawn Taylor scored 10 points as USA U19 Team defeated Canada 93-73 in the quarterfinals of the FIBA U19 World Championship play in Auckland, New Zealand.

The win improved the United States record to 7-0 and advanced the Americans into Saturday’s medal round semifinals where they will face Croatia (6-1) at 8:30 p.m. (Auckland local time, 3:30 a.m. CDT). Croatia advanced after earning a solid 91-78 victory over Puerto Rico in the quarterfinals. Greece (5-2) will face Australia (7-0) in the other medal semifinal game Saturday. Winners of the semifinal match-up advance to Sunday’s 7:30 p.m. (2:30 a.m. CDT) gold medal game.

In the victory against Canada, the USA U19 team set single game records for most three-point field goals made and highest single game three-point shooting percentage by going 14-for-26 (53.8 percent) from beyond the arc. Taylor went 4-for-7 from the field, including 1-for-1 from three-point range. The Jersey City, N.J., native led the USA team with seven assists in the win.

“We didn’t play well in our last game and that may have been understandable as it was our sixth game and we had our spot (into the quarterfinals) clinched. But I thought today we played with a real sense of focus and urgency, especially offensively. I thought we were unselfish,” said USA and University of Pittsburgh head coach Jamie Dixon.

“It was good to see us shoot the ball well. I thought that was one of our strengths but we haven’t really shot it great, but we did tonight. I thought we passed it well to get those open shots and we took good shots and that’s all part of it. Take good shots, you shoot a higher percentage, you get a rhythm and you feel good and that’s what we did tonight.”

From the opening tip, the three-point shot was on for the USA team. Sinking 11-of-16 three-pointers in the first two periods alone, the USA made 14-of 26 threes overall. Six different U.S. players hit at least one three in the game’s first 20 minutes.

The USA’s 14 made 3-pointers set a new USA game record, bettering the old mark of 13 (7/15/03 versus Lithuania). Also, the USA’s 53.8 shooting percentage from three improved on the old record of 50.0 percent (7/22/95 vs. France).

“I could tell in warm up before the game, it felt good, just my stroke and I knew I could carry it over to the game. I was very confident out there,” admitted Seth Curry (Duke / Charlotte, N.C.) about his shooting before the game. “I was kind of struggling with my shooting the past few games so it felt good to make some shots and help the team.”

Leading 10-9, Curry hit back-to-back threes and after Darius Miller (Kentucky / Lexington, Ky.) scored inside to finish off a 9-0 run that pushed the USA advantage to 19-9.

Up 25-15 to start quarter two, six of the USA’s first seven made baskets of the second quarter were from behind the 3-point line as the Americans took charge 45-22 following a three from Shelvin Mack (Butler / Lexington, Ky.) with 4:56 remaining before halftime. Canada rallied and over the final 4:56 to outscore the U.S. 14-8, leaving the USA lead at 51-36 at intermission.

Taylor is third on the USA U19 team in scoring average at 9.8 points per game. He leads the team with 26 assists and averages 1.7 rebounds through seven games.