July 13, 1999

From Release on

PALMA de MALLORCA, Spain – The 1999 USA Basketball Men’s World University Games Team (8-0) charged to an impressive 79-65 victory Monday night against Yugoslavia (6-1) at Son Moix Stadium here to win its sixth consecutive World University Games gold medal and their 40th straight contest at the Games, with both streaks dating back to 1987. In addition, the U.S. posted its fourth win against a previously unbeaten team at the ’99 World University Games. All time, the USA owns a 110-6 (.948) record at the World University Games and has won 16 medals (12 gold, three silver, one bronze) in 16 appearances. Against Yugoslavia, the USA saw its record to improve to 3-2 at the World University Games.

“I’m both ecstatic and relieved to get the gold. We were the favorite coming in here, there’s no question about it, because of the great precedent set before us in the last five World University Games. I’m just very pleased to continue that streak, to continue to make USA Basketball the No. 1 basketball program in the world,” said USA head coach Oliver Purnell of the University of Dayton (Ohio). “I’m happy with the players. I just told them that I enjoyed the ride. It was a pleasure coaching them and just a great experience for me.”

“I felt that the Spain game (Sunday night) was our gold medal game in a lot of respects. I felt that was a hump game, to beat Spain in Spain. I felt that if we came and played pretty solid basketball we would win here tonight. And we played more than solid basketball. Our defense was as good as it’s been. To hold them to 31 points in the first half and then to hold them to about one field goal in the first seven minutes of the second half was the ballgame,” Purnell continued.

For the third straight game, forward Kenyon Martin (Cincinnati / Dallas, Texas) led the Americans in scoring with 21 points (10-15 FGs) and also hauled in a game high seven rebounds. Martin’s collegiate teammate, Pete Mickeal (Cincinnati / Rock Island, Ill.) followed with 12 points (4-5 Fgs), Matt Santangelo (Gonzaga / Portland, Ore.) checked in with nine points as did center Brendan Haywood (North Carolina / Greensboro, N.C.), who capped off a strong tournament with his nine point effort.

For the second consecutive game, starting point guard Scoonie Penn (Ohio State / Salem, Mass.) was sidelined by a stomach illness, and for the second consecutive game Erick Barkley (St. John’s / Brooklyn, N.Y.) filled in in fine fashion with seven points and 10 assists against just one turnover in 29 minutes. Barkley fell just one assist shy of the USA World University Games single game record of 11 assists, set by former Northwestern University (Ill.) standout Andre Goode in 1983 against Cuba. Including Barkley’s performance on Sunday night against Spain, he averaged 13.0 points per game, 3.0 rebounds per game and 6.5 assists per game in Penn’s absence.

With the United States controlling the game, 42-31, at halftime, the Americans outscored the Yugoslavians 13-2 over the game’s first 6:05 in a run that saw Martin score 10 points, including a pair of three-point plays. Mladen Sekularac then buried a three pointer one of his game high 31 points (12-16 FGs, 5-5 3FGs) to momentarily halt the USA’s momentum. However, the U.S. resumed with an 8-2 run that enabled them to hold an overwhelming 62-38 lead with 11:22 to play in the game. With 1:04 to play, the USA owned a 79-59 edge, but Yugoslavia reeled off the game’s final six points in a stretch of 48 seconds to establish the final score.

The USA trailed their Yugoslavian counterparts for the last time at 9-7 with 16:59 remaining in the first half when Haywood converted a pair of free throws to put the Americans ahead for good and spark a 10-0 run that consumed 5:02. In that stretch, Haywood tallied four points as the game was marked by the lack of dramatic intrigue usually seen in “Matlock” reruns from that point forward. In the first half, the U.S. shot a smoldering 58.1 percent (18-31 FGs) from the floor, outrebounded Yugoslavia 18-9, and forced eight turnovers. USA gold medal winners

In the World University Games bronze medal contest held earlier in the day, host Spain defeated Mexico 90-78.

Quoting The Members Of The Gold Medal Winning 1999 USA Basketball Men’s World University Games Team

ERICK BARKLEY, St. John’s University (N.Y.)
“It’s a great accomplishment and honor to win this gold medal. Not a lot of other athletes get to win a gold medal. I’m really grateful that I was one of the guys making the team. Its up there really high, I went far in the NCAAs, but I think this is worth more because I am representing my country.”

CORY BRADFORD, University of Illinois
“Its huge, it feels real good, to go out and represent your country the best you can and play hard every hard every night and winning the gold is a big achievement for us. It has to be the top to come over and represent your country in another country and win the gold medal. It has to be the number one achievement for me.”

CHRIS CARRAWELL, Duke University (N.C.)
“This substitutes for my national championship, we lost it to Connecticut and getting this gold, it doesn’t take away all, but certainly makes up for some of the pain from the loss of the national championship game.”

Comparing The USA Basketball Experience to the Final Four Experience:
“Growing-up in America, the Final Four — you just can’t beat that — but to come over here and compete against some great international teams, that’s an achievement as well. We played against a great Spain team last night and I thought the game could go either way, I thought, definitely, that was the championship game. I have to take my hat off to Yugoslavia because they played their hearts out.”

KEVIN FREEMAN, University of Connecticut
“Its really a different feeling from winning a national championship, it (winning the gold medal) is on a whole different level. Its been memorable, especially playing with such talented guys who are such great teammates. I’m going to miss playing with some of these guys, but I look forward to playing them in the fall. I think we built a lot of friendships here that we will value for the rest of our lives.”

BRENDAN HAYWOOD, University of North Carolina
“It’s a great feeling, a lot of people that play basketball don’t get a chance to represent their country. I feel very fortunate to have been chosen and I feel very good about winning this gold medal. It’s a very good experience, it is something I can take back to North Carolina and hopefully build for next year. Its something I can talk to the young guys about, about certain ways to play people or certain things that the coaches or the other players here have taught me. We have a great coaching staff and great players, I learned a great deal from this event.”

MARK MADSEN, Stanford University (Calif.)
“Its an unbelievable feeling. I never dreamed I would be able to go up to the podium and accept the gold medal for the USA. It was a tremendous journey, everyone on this team contributed. It was wonderful to just come together as a team and just make this happen.”

Comparing The USA Basketball Experience to that of the NCAA Final Four:
“Its really the same time of experience, it’s a situation where you are playing at the top level of basketball.”

KENYON MARTIN, University of Cincinnati
“It is a great feeling to come over here and take care of business, win the gold medal. Winning the gold was our main focus in coming over here. It’s right up there. I’ve played with a lot of great teams, but this ranks as one of the top three.”

PETE MICKEAL, University of Cincinnati
“It feels real good, it the goal we set out to accomplishment when we first got together at the first training camp in Dayton. It was harder than people thought it was going to be for us. The Spain game was probably the hardest and I was really looking forward to that game. Those are the kind of games I love to play in. It was a great effort by everybody. This really sets us apart from a lot of other players in the nation, being on this team and really accepting our roles, not trying to do too much.”

“It’s a big thing I’ve always wanted to represent my country and I finally got a chance to. Making the team was really a big step for me as a person, everybody expected me to make it, but personally, I wanted to prove to myself that I could make it. Then coming out here and contributing every night, that says a lot for me, sharing the ball and not trying to be greedy and just playing as a team. Whatever it takes to keep everybody happy, I’m willing to do it.”

CHRIS MIHM, University of Texas
“Its been a fantastic journey so far, this team has come a long way since we first got together. We talked the whole time since late May that we wanted to win a gold medal and now to finally accomplish it, for ourselves, our universities and our country is really fantastic. I’m really excited about brining it back home.”

“I was able to win a conference championship with Texas this year and that was fantastic. Ever since you were a kid you dream about getting a gold medal. This was just like an Olympics and the gold medal is going to be something I cherish for a long time.”

SCOONIE PENN, Ohio State University
“It’s a good feeling, it was a goal before we came out here. We worked pretty hard and we all wanted to win the gold and that’s what we did. This is a great experience. It is good to go to another country and win the gold. I’m grateful for the opportunity to play for the United States.”

Pressure of Continuing the USA Basketball World University Games Win Streak:
“We didn’t feel a whole lot of pressure, at least I didn’t. We knew that if we just went out there and played our game we would be fine.”

MICHAEL REDD, Ohio State University
“That’s why we came here — to achieve one goal — and that was to win the gold medal. It is a great honor and it beats any feeling I’ve had playing basketball. It has been a crazy year. We went to the Final Four at Ohio State and this summer, coming here, and winning the gold medal that’s a great feeling right now. We have a great deal of experience and we have never played in this type of environment, but we just went out there and played our game.”

MATT SANTANGELO, Gonzaga University (Wash.)
“Its exciting. With the tradition that the USA has, we thought that we would come and walk through the tournament, but as we started playing games we realized that these other countries provide some great competition and we knew we had to bring our best game in order to win. We had a great run in the tournament this year with Gonzaga making it to the Elite Eight, but this is a gold medal and you are representing your country and I think this has got to be the highest point in my basketball career. It was a great opportunity and a great experience.”