US downs Denmark, advances to Schweitzer quarterfinals
VIERNHEIM, Germany – Propelled by Stevie Clark’s triple double – 17 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists – the U.S. clinched a berth in Wednesday’s quarterfinals of the 26th biennial Albert Schweitzer International Youth basketball tournament with a 77-67 pool-play conquest of Denmark on Sunday.
“I liked pretty much everything I saw tonight,” said Austin Nichols, a 6-9 forward from Briarcrest Christian School in Memphis, who scored 13 points on Sunday. “We’re really coming together as a team. We have tons of talent, but for us to be playing like this when we’ve only been together for a few days is amazing.”
Playing like this on Sunday, as the Americans improved to 2-0 here, meant outscoring the Danes in every category – 14-8 in points from turnovers, 16-5 on second-chance points, 18-10 on fast-break points and most astoundingly of all against the inside presence of the Danes, 40-24 in points in the paint. And as proof of their coming together as a team, the Americans handed out 23 assists on Sunday.
The victory set up a Monday night showdown at 8 p.m. in the Waldsportshalle here against Serbia, a perennial European power which is making its first appearance in the AST since 2006. Serbia, which walloped Denmark 76-46 on Saturday, downed Greece 74-55 Sunday.
Monday’s winner goes into Wednesday’s quarterfinals here against the No. 2 team from powerful Pool D, which consists of defending champion Australia and 1998 champion Spain, along with Russia and China. Monday’s U.S.-Serbia loser gets to try its hand against the winner of Pool D.
Sunday, the Americans led by as many as 17 points before a fourth-quarter Danish press cut into the final margin.
“We had trouble against the press,” said U.S. team chief Eddie Ford. “We stopped moving.”
Until then, though, the Americans did nothing but move. For the second straight night, they outrebounded the opposition, this time 23-17 overall and 10-4 on the offensive glass. So effectively did they box out Danish seven-footer Rasmus Glarbjerg Larsen that the massive forward collected just six rebounds. He did, however, lead all scorers with 24 points.
“I don’t know how many points he had,” Nichols said afterward, “but I thought we did a good job on him.”
The U.S. will have to repeat the feat on Monday – Serbia packs a seven-footer of its own in center Radoslav Pekovic, along with his fellow pivots, Nikola Milutinov and Dusan Ristic, both 6-9.
Clark, who attends Douglass High School in Oklahoma City, and Darryl Hicks, from Trinity High School in Louisville, Ky., led the U.S. scoring with 17 points each. Hicks has 12 of his total and Clark 11 of his in the first 20 minutes to boost the U.S. to a 46-32 halftime lead.
Denmark led 3-2 for 34 seconds of the game’s first minute, then never caught the high-energy Americans again.
“We give tons of effort,” Nichols said. “The coaches didn’t have to ask us to bring any effort. That’s our game.”
The box score:
U.S.A. 77, Denmark 67Pool-play Sunday at Waldsporthalle, ViernheimU.S.A........25 21 17 14—77Denmark .......15 17 18 17—67Scoring—U.S.A.: Stevie Clark 17, Darryl Hicks 17, Austin Nichols 13, Collin Hartman 11, Marki Bryan 6, Nicholas Smith 6, Derek Willis 5, Steve Haney Jr. 2; Denmark: Rasmus Glarbjerg Larsen 24, Peter Moeller 20, David Noerby Knudsen 9, Adam Holm-Weber 5, Rasmus Stolbjerg 4, Tobias Tita Christensen 2, Salman Khan 2, Danel Mortensen 1. Rebounding—U.S.A. 47 (Clark 10, Smith 7, Bryan 6, Willis 4); Denmark 36 (Larsen11, Mortensen 5, Stolbjerg 5). Assists—U.S.A.: 23 (Clark 10, Derrick Walton Jr. 5); Denmark 12 (Larsen 3). Total fouls—U.S.A. 20; Denmark 14. Fouled out—None.