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USA Young Men Go Inside For 123-87 Victory Over Japan

SAITAMA, Japan (August 7, 2001) ­ Taking advantage of its inside might, the
USA (4-0) pounded Japan (1-3) 123-87 as Caron Butler (Connecticut / Racine,
Wis.), Reggie Evans (Iowa / Pensacola, Fla.), Carlos Boozer (Duke / Juneau,
Alaska) and Nick Collison (Kansas / Iowa City, Iowa) combined for 60 points
and 39 rebounds Tuesday night at the World Championship For Young Men in
Saitama, Japan. It was the American's fourth straight win and preliminary
round play concludes Wednesday with a showdown for first place in Group B
with a game between undefeated USA and Israel in an 8:20 p.m. (Tokyo local
time) game.

"We played very well on offense, they're very difficult for us to guard.
They run well, really pass well and I thought Japan played very well
offensively. They made it very difficult for us to stop them, we really
just outscored them. We're just a little bit to big and strong and we hurt
them inside," said USA mentor Jim Boeheim.

"We have to play much better defense the rest of this tournament,"
continued Boeheim. "We've been able to out score people and our offense
has been very good. We have shot the ball very well. But there will be
games ahead when we won't make as many shots, the defense will be more
difficult, we won't get the easy shots that we're getting, so our defense
will have to pick up. We're going to have to play better defense to be
successful the rest of the way."

The USA behind six points from Boozer opened the game with a 11-0 spurt and
with 2:45 left in the opening quarter the Americans were in full control
27-9. However, Japan's 3-point attack came to life and after hitting
five-of-nine 3-pointers in the first quarter, Japan had closed the USA lead
to 36-23. The USA in the first quarter shot 70.0 percent (14-20 FGs) from
the field and outrebounded Japan 17 to four.

The U.S. continued to have its way inside and its lead remained in double
figures in the second quarter. With the USA holding a 47-36 lead with 6:07
to go in the second period, the Americans received some 3-point relief of
its own. Assembling a 17-6 run that featured 3-pointers from Jameer
Nelson (St. Joseph's / Chester, Pa), Chris Duhon (Duke / Slidell, La.) and
Troy Bell (Boston College / Minneapolis, Minn.), the U.S. opened up a 64-42
lead and ended the half on top 67-46 .

Leading 74-53 with 8:19 left in the third quarter, the USA moved out ahead
93-56 after going on a 19-3 scoring blitz that was highlighted by three
3-pointers from Jason Kapono (UCLA / Lakewood, Calif.). Leading 101-64
after three quarters, the U.S. sailed in for the 123-87 victory.

"Our plan from the beginning was to rebound and get the ball inside where
we had an advantage," said 6-foot9, 265 pound Boozer. "They're not very
physical and not very strong and we did a good job of getting the ball
inside and finishing.

The USA offensive assault was paced by Butler and Evans who accounted for
17 points each, Boozer added 16, Bell finished with 13, Duhon had 12 and
Collison finished with 10 points. Setting a USA single game record for
most rebounds with 61, the U.S. also established single game marks for most
field goals attempted (85) and blocked shots (8). Boozer and Collison led
the U.S. on the glass snagging 11 boards each, while Evans pulled down 10.
Michael Sweeney (Georgetown / Oxen Hill, Md.) set a U.S. single game record
for blocked shots, rejecting four, while posting nine points and four

Japan finished the contest shooting 41.9 percent overall from the field,
but made 11-of-26 shots from behind the 3-point line. The USA connected on
56.5 percent of its shots, including 45.0 (9-20 3pt FGs) from 3-point.

In other preliminary round play Tuesday, in Group B, Israel (4-0) defeated
Argentina (2-2) 80-63, and Croatia (1-3) posted its first win of the
Championship after pounding South Korea (0-4) 137-72. In a critical
showdown in Group A, Australia (3-1) jumped on previously unbeaten Slovenia
(3-1) early and cruised to a 95-68 victory causing a three-way tie
between Australia, Slovenia and Spain for top honors in Group A. Dominican
Republic (2-2) evened its record with a 107-76 win over Egypt (1-3), and
Spain (3-1) held off winless Qatar (0-4) 75-69.

The FIBA World Championship For Young Men is being held August 3-12 in
Saitama, Japan and features 12 teams that are divided into two preliminary
round pools consisting of six teams each.

The USA concludes preliminary play against Israel on Aug. 8. Quarterfinals
play gets underway Aug. 10. The quarterfinals match the first place team
in each preliminary round group against the fourth place finisher from the
opposite group, and the second place finishers in each group meet the third
place finishers in the other group. Winners of the quarterfinals round
games will meet in semifinals action on Aug. 11 and the medal games being
held Aug. 12.

Held every four years and originally designed for men 22-years-old or
younger, FIBA lowered the age eligibility to 21-years-old or younger in
Dec. 1998 and changed the competition name to the World Championship For
Young Men. The U.S. captured gold in the inaugural competition which was
held in 1993 in Spain and known as the FIBA 22 And Under World
Championship, and in 1997 in Melbourne, Australia, finished fifth with a
6-2 record.

"We know Israel is a tremendous team. They came through last year and had
to win a very difficult game against Yugoslavia just to get here and they
did that. They have played extremely well here. They are very well
coached, they've got veteran players, they're very physical, they shoot the
ball well and they're as good as any team here," commented Boeheim about
the USA's next opponent Israel.

Additional USA Player Quotes

Our offense has been very good and that a good sign. We have played very
well offensively but we're concerned about going into the last part of the
tournament and our defense is going to have to get better. We just haven't
been together long enough to get the defense to the level where some of
these other teams have their defense. We're going to have to keep playing
well on offense but we're going to have to also improve on the defensive end."

"We've done a good job against the 3-point shot for the most part. This
team (Japan) is just so small they're going to get some better three looks
than other team will, so I think we've done a good in the tournament. My
main concern the rest of the way is we have to play better defense overall,
inside as well as outside. We haven't really played the physical teams
yet, the rest of our opponents are all very physical and that could be a
problem for us.


"From a player stand point, this was a pretty hard game for us to play
because Japan is such a well coached team, they spread the floor, they set
good screens and they play so well together. They're a very quick team,
they're a tough team to guard. It was real good game to play, it was fun."

"Our plan from the beginning was to rebound and get the ball inside where
we had an advantage. They're not very physical and not very strong, I
think we did a good job of getting the ball inside and finishing. They
were a fast team, they get up the court real well, they get the ball out
quickly and they get it up. They have guards that can shoot the ball and
handle the ball, so it was tough game for us big guys but it was a good
challenge for us as well."

Has anything surprised you about the international game?

"How the game is called over here, certain plays go over here that maybe
wouldn't go over in the United States. I think just the adjustments,
adjustments to how the game is played over in Europe and over here. It's
been a great experience and it's something I'd like to do again."

You got off to a good start tonight, you took advantage of your size and
"Some of the fellas and the coaching staff were telling me I had to pick it
up and that's what I tried to do tonight, to get a feel for my game so I
can be ready for the rest of the tournament. I'm feeling more comfortable
with what I'm doing now and hopefully I can maintain the same
aggressiveness for the rest of the tournament."

Was this game different because of Japan's size and speed and because
they're always looking to shoot the three?
"It was very different. The speed of their guards is just unbelievable.
They run the floor constantly and they never get tired. But we held our
own, we're in good condition and we were able to maintain with them."

You're heading into the part of the schedule where every game will be a
tough game. Are you looking forward to that?
"Yeah I'm ready to get into it and hopefully we can bring home the gold."

On Tonight's win over Japan:
"The Japan players were all smaller then me and they were getting up the
court so fast, it was making it difficult to stop them in transition. When
we played Argentina the tempo was slow and they were banging us, but it was
very different playing a team like Japan."

The schedule gets much tougher from here on, are you looking forward to that?
"Everybody is looking forward to that. Sometimes when you're winning by 40
or 50 points it's hard to play up to your potential, but this should really
bring out players' games."

You're among the team's leaders for assists, is that something you look setup your teammates?
"Well yeah, I'm the point guard and the point guard needs to distribute the
ball to his teammates before anything else."