Support our mission
 
Anthony Stewart of the United States takes the ball to the hoop past the outstretched hand of Spain’s Victor Claver in the Americans’ 81-73 victory Monday night in the Albert Schweitzer Tournament in Mannheim, Germany.
Anthony Stewart of the United States takes the ball to the hoop past the outstretched hand of Spain’s Victor Claver in the Americans’ 81-73 victory Monday night in the Albert Schweitzer Tournament in Mannheim, Germany. (Michael Abrams / S&S)
Anthony Stewart of the United States takes the ball to the hoop past the outstretched hand of Spain’s Victor Claver in the Americans’ 81-73 victory Monday night in the Albert Schweitzer Tournament in Mannheim, Germany.
Anthony Stewart of the United States takes the ball to the hoop past the outstretched hand of Spain’s Victor Claver in the Americans’ 81-73 victory Monday night in the Albert Schweitzer Tournament in Mannheim, Germany. (Michael Abrams / S&S)
The United States’ Edwin Rios drives against Spain’s Richard Nguema in Mannheim, Germany, on Monday night.
The United States’ Edwin Rios drives against Spain’s Richard Nguema in Mannheim, Germany, on Monday night. (Michael Abrams / S&S)

MANNHEIM, Germany — The U.S. basketball team continued its sharp improvement Monday night with an 81-73 victory over Spain that propelled the Americans into a top-tier pool in the Albert Schweitzer Tournament for players younger than 18.

“[We] laid a whipping on them for three quarters,” U.S. coach Dick McCann said of his team’s opening 30 minutes that produced leads as high as 25 points. “In the fourth quarter, they got a valuable lesson about international basketball. I’ve seen leads of 30 points disappear in a quarter.”

Rich Jackson of Philadelphia and Luke Babbitt of Reno, Nev., each achieved double-doubles in three quarters to spark the Americans to a 69-48 lead after three. Jackson finished with 12 points and 13 rebounds after a dominating performance in the paint, and Babbitt had 17 points and 11 rebounds, including 3-for-4 shooting from three-point range.

It was 7-foot Cole Aldrich of Bloomington, Minn., however, who blunted Spain’s rally. Aldrich had four rebounds and four points in the final 10 minutes.

Babbitt, who joins Jackson and Anthony Stewart of Jacksonville, Fla., as the U.S. starting front line, said the U.S. will benefit from the scare down the road.

“In the fourth quarter, we let our guard down,” he said. “The experience will make us better.”

The U.S. rebounders, led by Jackson, displayed their growing adaptation to the rugged inside phase of the international game, outrebounding Spain 59-46.

“It’s pretty tough in there,” Jackson said. “They do a lot of dirty stuff — push you in the back and grab your shirt when you’re trying to go up. You’ve just got to fight through all that.”

Stewart mixed it up in the melee in the paint, too, providing 14 points and five rebounds on 4-for-8 shooting from the floor and 6-for-8 from the line.

“I stayed out of foul trouble,” he said. “I got to stay in and get a feel for the game.”

Front-line scoring — 64 points — proved crucial as the three-pointer deserted the U.S. Long-ball success dropped from 50 percent in Sunday’s 112-91 victory over Israel to just 19 percent (4-for-21) on Monday.

And as it has in all three U.S. games, the Americans’ bench again made a decisive contribution, outscoring Spain’s subs 35-18. The U.S. reserves outscored Israel’s 51-24 Sunday and Croatia’s 32-20 Saturday.

Josue Soto of Jacksonville, Fla., came off the bench Monday to score 12 points.

“We’re 12 deep,” McCann said. “Even our last two can go in and give us good minutes. No other team in this tournament can go 12 deep.”

Even so, the Americans welcomed the day off Tuesday before beginning the medals chase in earnest at 6 p.m. Wednesday against Group B winner Serbia-Montenegro. Thursday’s foe, also at 6 p.m., is Italy.

“We’re going to rest and tour Heidelberg castle,” McCann said of his team’s plans for the off day. “These guys played very hard the last two days. We’re not even going to go onto the floor.”

United States 81, Spain 73

Monday at Mannheim, Germany

Spain 16 11 19 27 73

USA 23 18 28 12 81

Scoring — Spain: Victor Claver 21, Pere Tomas 16, Marco Rubio 10, Qium Colom 8, Xavi Forcada 8, Juan Antonio Marco 3, Luis Parejo 3, Richard Nguema 2, Javier Vega 2. USA: Luke Babbitt 17, Anthony Stewart 14, Richard Jackson 12, Josue Soto 12, Cole Aldrich 8, Sam Muldrow 7, Andre McFarland 6, Edwin Rios 3, Matt Salay 2.

Rebounding leaders — Spain: Claver 10, Tomas 8. USA: Jackson 13, Babbitt 11, Aldrich 7, Soto 6.

Assist leaders — Spain: Juan Cabot 3, Vega 3. USA: Rios 2.

23rd Albert Schweitzer Tournament

Pool play

Sunday’s games

Canada 67, Italy 65

Turkey 101, China 58

Germany 80, Sweden 68

Serbia and Montenegro 76, Greece 42

Croatia 56, Spain 55

Australia 71, Ukraine 54

France 92, Lithuania 76

USA 112, Israel 91

Monday’s games

Sweden 96, China 77

Serbia and Montenegro 91, Canada 85

Italy 90, Greece 84

Turkey 82, Germany 67

Lithuania 100, Australia 91

Croatia 95, Israel 59

France 76, Ukraine 63

USA 81, Spain 73

Wednesday’s games

Group E

at MWS Halle am HerzogenriedMannheim

Turkey (3-0) vs. Lithuania (2-1), 6 p.m.

France (3-0) vs. Germany (2-1), 8 p.m.

Group F

at BFV Sports Arena, Mannheim

Serbia and Montenegro (3-0) vs. USA (2-1), 6 p.m.

Croatia (3-0) vs. Italy (1-2), 8 p.m.

Group G

at MWS Halle am Herzogenried Mannheim

Sweden (1-2) vs. Ukraine (0-3), 2 p.m.

Australia (1-2) vs. China (0-3), 4 p.m.

Group H

at BFV Sports Arena, Mannheim

Greece (1-3) vs. Spain (0-3), 2 p.m.

Israel (1-2) vs. Canada (1-2), 4 p.m.

Thursday’s games

Group E

at MWS Halle am Herzogenried Mannheim

Lithuania vs. Germany, 6 p.m.

Turkey vs. France, 8 p.m.

Group F

at BFV Sports Arena, Mannheim

USA vs. Italy, 6 p.m.

Croatia vs. Serbia and Montenegro, 8 p.m.

Group G

at MWS Halle am Herzogenried Mannheim

Ukraine vs. China, 2 p.m.

Sweden vs. Australia, 4 p.m.

Group H

at BFV Sports Arena, Mannheim

Spain vs. Canada, 2 p.m.

Israel vs. Greece, 4 p.m.

Note: Tickets, available at door or in advance at Rhein-Neckar USO on Sullivan Barracks, Mannheim, are 10 euros for adults and 7 euros for youth for Wednesday’s and Thursday’s games. Friday and Saturday, prices increase to 14 euros for adults and 9 euros for youths.

Migrated

stars and stripes videos

around the web

Sign Up for Daily Headlines

Sign-up to receive a daily email of today’s top military news stories from Stars and Stripes and top news outlets from around the world.

Sign up