Maryland angle: 'Melo sets records as U.S. smashes Nigeria in men's basketball

SportsBasketballMaryland TerrapinsNBALeBron JamesKobe BryantIke Diogu

As if the U.S. needed to shoot well, too.

They're already the top men's basketball team in the Olympics, able to drive and dunk and put up a display better than anybody.

So they drove a stake through Nigeria in a preliminary game, 156-73, making a massive number of 3-pointers Thursday and smashing the Olympic record for points in a game.

Carmelo Anthony (Towson Catholic) scored 37 points, the most ever for a U.S. player in the Olympics, and set another U.S. Olympic record by making 10 3-pointers (he needed only 12 attempts).

The U.S. had 49 points in the first quarter, an Olympic-record 78 at halftime and led through three quarters 119-62. Those are 10-minute quarters, by the way. The margin of victory was the widest in Team USA history.

"We just shot better than any team in a game that I've ever coached," U.S. coach Mike Krzyzewski said.

The former Olympic mark of 138 points (Brazil against Egypt in 1988) was history before the midpoint of the fourth quarter.

The U.S. made 29 of 46 3-point attempts, a stunning 63 percent.

"It's a great accomplishment to get that record," said Anthony, who played a little more than 14 minutes and left for good with 4:48 to go in the third quarter. "We did it in a very classy way."

For Nigeria, Tony Skinn (Takoma Park) had three points, two assists and a rebound but turned the ball over six times, while Ekene Ibekwe (Maryland) went scoreless with one rebound.

Afterward, Krzyzewski shook his head when a foreign reporter asked Nigeria forward Ike Diogu if the U.S. ran up the score and failed to adhere to an unspoken Olympic code.

"The first thing we did was not play LeBron [James] and Kobe [Bryant] in the second half," Krzyzewski said sternly. "The second thing we did is, even with Carmelo shooting like that, we benched him.

"I take offense to [the reporter's] question because there's no way in the world our program, the United States, is out to humiliate anyone."

Said Diogu, a former NBA player who had 27 points for Nigeria: "I don't think they went out of their way to try to humiliate us. At least, I didn't feel that way."

Russell Westbrook had 21 points and Bryant had 16 for the U.S., which already dismantled two other Olympic opponents — France, 98-71, and Tunisia, 110-63.

The U.S. seemingly even edged closer to a gold medal before Thursday's game started. Spain, the one team alleged to have a chance to beat the U.S., barely topped winless Britain, 79-78.

The British, now 0-3, had one NBA player on their roster: Luol Deng.

In other action, Lithuania's Sarunas Jasikevicius (Maryland) had five assists and two points, but France rallied from a four-point halftime deficit for an 82-74 victory in Group A. Also, Argentina beat Tunisia, 92-69; Australia defeated China, 81-61; and Russia beat Brazil, 75-74.

Ledecky advances in 800 free

Bethesda's Katie Ledecky, at 15 the youngest member of the U.S. Olympic team, won her heat in the preliminaries of the women's 800-meter freestyle. She posted the third-fastest time in the qualifying heats (8 minutes, 23.84 seconds). Ledecky advanced to the final, which will take place at 2:45 p.m. Friday.

Hall falls in RS-X

Facing high winds and waves, and unpredictable conditions at Weymouth Bay and Portland Harbour, Farrah Hall of Annapolis dropped two spots in the overall standings at the RS-X windsurfing event.

Hall (Broadneck, St. Mary's College) came in 20th in Race 5, finishing 3 minutes, 58 seconds behind the leader, and 22nd in Race 6 (7:13 behind), dropping her to 20th overall among 26 sailors. Spain's Marina Alabau Neira is in the top spot overall.

Four races remain before Tuesday's medal race. Friday will be a day off for competitors, with Race 7 on Saturday.

In the men's 49er, skipper Jesse Kirkland (St. Mary's College) of Bermuda finished sixth in Race 7, 45 seconds off the pace, but failed to finish Race 8, his fourth DNF of the event. Kirkland is 19th of 20 in the overall standings.

Field hockey blanked

The U.S. field hockey team, with Terrapins alumnae Katie O'Donnell and Keli Smith Puzo, fell to No. 7 Australia, 1-0, at Riverbank Arena.

The Americans had numerous shots in the closing minutes but couldn't get one to find the goal. Smith Puzo played 53 minutes, while O'Donnell played 45.

With the loss, the U.S. is 1-2 in group play with two games remaining. There are six teams in each group, and they all play five games. The top two teams in each group advance to the semifinals. The U.S. is in fifth in Group B.

The Americans will play No. 6 New Zealand on Saturday at 2 p.m. on NBC Sports Network. Their final match in group play will be at 5:45 a.m. Sunday against No. 12 South Africa.

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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