July 9, 1999

%^$From Release on^$

%^$CALVIA, Spain – In a game it needed to win to secure the%^$top seed from its pool play group, the 1999 USA Basketball Men’s World%^$University Games Team (5-0) roared to an impressive 91-74 victory against%^$Greece (3-2) and its small but vocal contingent of fans here Thursday%^$night. Greece is now eliminated from medal contention, while the Americans%^$will take on Canada (3-1) in the medal round quarterfinals at 8 p.m. (2%^$p.m. EDT) Saturday night in Calvia, Spain. Canada’s 85-55 victory against%^$the Netherlands (2-2) Thursday night secured its position in the medal%^$round quarterfinals.%^$

%^$”It was a very important game for us. The most important thing here is%^$that this kept us undefeated and got us the No. 1 seed,” said USA head%^$coach Oliver Purnell of the University of Dayton (Ohio). “Two games ago we%^$had an excellent game against the Czech Republic and we still haven’t got%^$back to that. But this was definitely better than the game we played%^$against Lithuania last night. It’s good to see us moving forward.”%^$

%^$The USA has now scored at least 90 points in each of its five contests at%^$the ’99 World University Games, and has won all five games by at least nine%^$points. The Americans are aiming for their sixth consecutive World%^$University Games gold medal and their 12th gold medal in 16 World%^$University Games appearances. Overall, the U.S. is 107-6 (.947) at the%^$World University Games, and possesses a 37 game World University Games%^$winning streak.%^$

%^$Thursday night’s victory was paced by the shooting of guard Matt Santangelo%^$(Gonzaga / Portland, Ore.), who tallied a game high 19 points on 7-of-9%^$shooting from the floor and 5-of-6 shooting from three-point range.%^$Santangelo converted each of his first six attempts from the field, and%^$buried each of his first five three-point attempts. Santangelo now owns%^$the U.S. single game record for three-point field goals made at the World%^$University Games, breaking the previous record of four treys made, set%^$eight different times and most recently by former University of Virginia%^$star Curtis Staples against Canada in 1997.%^$

%^$”I had no idea that I did it but I think it’s great. It was more of a%^$night when Greece went zone on us so early. It’s the first team we’ve seen%^$that’s actually done that for any amount of time. But that’s what you’ve%^$got to do to get them out of a zone, is hit shots. I was fortunate to make%^$some tonight,” Santangelo said. “We didn’t play too well last night%^$against Lithuania. We need to go into the medal round on a good note and I%^$think we accomplished that tonight against a good team.”%^$

%^$After the USA spotted Greece an early 3-0 lead, the Americans charged back%^$to take a 7-3 lead with 17:10 left in the opening half when Michael Redd%^$(Ohio State / Columbus, Ohio) converted. While the Americans held the lead%^$for the duration of the game, it was not until late in the half that they%^$assembled a double digit lead. When Scoonie Penn (Ohio State / Salem,%^$Mass.) completed a three-point play with 4:47 to play in the half, the U.S.%^$owned a 40-26 lead and never saw its lead in jeopardy. %^$

%^$In the second half, the USA continued to roll, increasing its lead to 59-40%^$with 15:20 to play when Brendan Haywood (North Carolina / Greensboro,%^$N.C.). However, Greece answered with a 7-0 run that trimmed the USA’s lead%^$to 59-47 with 13:31 remaining. But Haywood completed a three-point play,%^$Penn drove for two, and the Americans sailed from that point on.%^$

%^$”We’ve kind of let teams hang around with us here. Things are clicking%^$from outside. We’ve got Matt Santangelo. Kenyon Martin (Cincinnati /%^$Dallas, Texas) and I were doing a good job on the inside. We can%^$definitely do a better job on the defensive end of the floor. We need to%^$hold a lot of these teams to around 60 points. Greece only had one%^$shooter, so we let them get a lot of their points on offensive rebounds and%^$layups and we’ve got to cut that out,” Haywood said.%^$

%^$Santangelo led all scorers with his 19 point effort; Penn added 16 points%^$(5-7 FGs), two assists and four steals; Haywood totaled 14 points (7-9 FGs)%^$two blocked shots and a team high six rebounds; Chris Carrawell (Duke / St.%^$Louis, Mo.) checked in with 12 points and four boards; and the team shot a%^$sizzling 58.8 percent (10-17 FGs) from three-point range in the victory.%^$

%^$If the USA defeats Canada on Saturday, it will face either Spain or Brazil%^$on Sunday at 8 p.m. (2 p.m. EDT) in the medal round semifinals, and the%^$winner of that game will advance to the gold medal game while the loser of%^$that contest will compete in the bronze medal game. Bronze and gold medal%^$matches will be held Monday, July 12 at 8 p.m. (2 p.m. EDT) at San Moix%^$Arena in Palma de Mallorca, Spain.%^$