SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico The United States had such an easy time against the Dominican Republic, it was even able to eclipse 110 points for the first time in two years.
Tracy McGrady scored 17 points, Vince Carter had 15, Jermaine O'Neal 14 and Kenyon Martin 13, and the Americans used an early 18-0 run to take control in a 111-73 victory Thursday night in the FIBA-Americans Olympic qualifying tournament.
It was the first time since the 2001 Goodwill Games that a team of American professionals surpassed 110 points. Last summer's U.S. team at the World Championships scored 110 twice but was held to 84 points or less in its final four games three of which were losses.
The 1992 Dream Team scored fewer than 110 points only twice in 14 games, but subsequent editions of the national team have not been as dominant as that one. The 2000 Olympic team surpassed 110 points only once in a 47-point victory over China and the 1996 Olympic team also surpassed 110 just once, also against China.
Nick Collison, the team' 12th man, put the United States over the 110-point mark on a driving scoop shot with 19 seconds left.
As they did in their opener against Brazil, the Americans got off to a shaky start no one more so than McGrady.
McGrady went to the free throw line twice in the first five minutes and missed all four shots. Fortunately for the U.S. team, two of the misses turned into offensive rebounds and putbacks for O'Neal.
O'Neal also had a putback basket off a near airball by McGrady, and Ray Allen closed the quarter with a 3-pointer to give the Americans a 29-25 lead.
Allen then had a 3-pointer and a breakaway layup to give the Americans a 38-35 lead, completing the 18-0 run.
Carter had two spectacular dunks over the first five minutes of the second quarter, and his 3 from the corner gave the Americans a 47-30 lead with 4:49 left before halftime.
After a timeout by the Dominicans, the American team came out in a 1-2-2 zone defense for the next two possessions an extreme rarity for a team coached by self-described zone-hater Larry Brown.
A 4-on-1 break that ended with an off-the-backboard alley-oop pass from Jason Kidd for a dunk by Carter gave the U.S. team its first 20-point lead, 52-32, and the Americans were ahead by 24 at halftime.
McGrady rediscovered his shooting touch in the third quarter, making three 3-pointers as the Americans made five 3s in the quarter and went ahead by as many as 35.
In earlier games, Argentina defeated Uruguay 91-60, Brazil beat the U.S. Virgin Islands 100-74 and Canada downed Puerto Rico 89-79.
Peninsula Clarion ©2014. All Rights Reserved.