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AUCKLAND, New Zealand - Kansas sophomore guard Tyshawn Taylor scored eight points and dished out a game-high five assists to help the USA Men's U19 World Championship Team record a victory over Puerto Rico, 82-61 in the second round of the FIBA U19 World Championship here Tuesday night.
On an off shooting night, the USA Men's U19 Team (5-0) relied on what has become its usual balanced offensive effort for point production, and turned to a defensive performance that allowed just two field goals in the final 13 minutes of the first half as the USA captured its fifth straight win with. The win insured the USA of the No. 1 seed for the Second Round Group E for the July 10 medal round quarterfinals. The U.S. will face the Group F No. 4 seeded team, a team still to be determined. The United States will wrap up its second round play Wednesday facing European power Lithuania (3-2) in a 2:30 a.m. (CDT) game.
Taylor ended the game 4-for-13 from the field, accumulating eight points, five assists, two rebounds and two steals in 21 minutes.
The USA's clash against Puerto Rico was a game in which the USA never trailed. Although the red, white and blue squad shot just 36.5 percent from the field overall, and made only 29.4 percent (10-34 3pt FGs) from 3-point, the U.S. had the 3-ball falling early and quickly ended all suspense for this contest.
Klay Thompson (Washington State / Ladera Ranch, Calif.) opened the game's scoring with a three and added a second at the 6:43 mark to help the U.S. take an 8-4 lead.
Puerto Rico evened the score at 11 after Mike Rasario, who plays at Rutgers University, drained 3-pointer. That was the last moment of hope for Puerto Rico.
The U.S. blew the game wide open with a 24-2 run that covered the last 2:41 of the first quarter and the first 5:12 of the second quarter. During the game deciding run Ashton Gibbs (Pittsburgh / Scotch Plains, N.J.) and Seth Curry (Duke / Charlotte, N.C.) each tallied six points, Terrico White (Mississippi / Memphis, Tenn.) contributed five points, and Howard Thompkins (Georgia / Lithonia, Ga.) added four more in the massive run.
Outscoring Puerto Rico 9-2 over the final 2:31 of the opening quarter to grab control 20-13, the Americans opened the second quarter by scoring 15 straight points to take full control 35-13. Of Puerto Rico's six points in the second period, four came on free throws as the islanders made just 1of-16 shots from the field.
Leading comfortably at halftime 43-19, the USA lead hovered around 20 points for the remainder of the game as Puerto Rico offensively was continually harassed by the USA defense. Puerto Rico star guard Rasario, who scored 54 points (18-29 FGs, 9-13 3pt FGs, 9-10 FTs) in his team's last second 90-89 win over France on Monday, managed to score just 11 points on 4-of-15 shooting.
Taylor, who has started two games, is averaging 9.0 points and is 15-for-32 (47 percent) from the field through four games of action. He has also added 15 assists (3.8 apg).