NOVI SAD, Serbia- Incoming Texas A&M freshman DeAndre Jordan scored 20 points as Team USA mauled Mali, 118-56, in Thursday's opening round of the 2007 USA Basketball U19 World Championship.
The USA (1-0) will play China (0-1) on Friday and will cap preliminary play on Saturday against host Serbia (1-0). Serbia defeated China, 78-61, in the opening round.
"After not playing for a couple days, I thought we shared the ball really well," USA and DePaul University head coach Jerry Wainwright said. "Obviously, Mali played hard, but they were really overmatched. The score showed we played to our potential and not theirs. It was good for some of the kids, especially our younger kids, to get their feet wet. We were able to rest a couple of guys who I think will be key for us tomorrow."
The bigger, faster and more athletic USA squad jumped out to a 21-0 lead and never looked back. Mali hit a free throw at 3:14 for its first points and its first field goal came with 58 seconds remaining in the first period. The Americans closed the opening period with a commanding 34-5 lead.
In addition to Jordan’s contributions, which included seven rebounds and four blocked shots, the USA’s effort was aided by 17 points and six rebounds from Kansas State's Michael Beasley and 14 from Oregon's Tajuan Porter.
The USA shot a sizzling 65.2 percent from the field, while limiting Mali to 26.8 percent. The Americans also outrebounded their opponents by a dominating 51-24 margin and had 10 blocked shots.
In other preliminary round play, France (1-0) edged Lithuania (0-1), 85-82, Brazil (1-0) beat Lebanon (0-1), 83-67, Canada (1-0) dominated Nigeria (0-1), 82-60, Australia (1-0) took Turkey (0-1), 77-65, and Argentina (1-0) downed Korea (0-1), 91-85.
The top three teams from each of the four preliminary round groups advance to next week's second round. The top three teams from Groups A and B will compete in round-robin play in second round Group E, while the top three teams from Groups C and D will play each other in Group F. The preliminary round results carry over to the second round standings, and teams will only face advancing squads from the opposite group in second round action. The quarterfinals will be played on July 20 and the semifinals on July 21, with the gold medal game set for July 22.